New Zealand vs Ireland LIVE rugby: Result and reaction as All Blacks cruise to win after Ardie Savea tries

·39 min read

Ireland begin their fascinating three-match Test series against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland this morning, looking to make history by beating the All Blacks on their home turf for the first time.

Ireland hadn’t beaten New Zealand anywhere in the world despite 111 years of trying until they finally triumphed in memorable style in Chicago in 2016 but since then, have won three of the five fixtures contested by the sides.

Getting the better of Ian Foster’s troops at Eden Park will be a mammoth task however, as the All Blacks haven’t lost at the Auckland ground - to any opponent - since way back in 1994.

They also have some inside knowledge, with ex-Ireland coach Joe Schmidt on their coaching staff, after the native Kiwi was drafted in at short notice to fill holes left by Covid-19 isolations. However, Andy Farrell’s troops did finish second in this year’s Six Nations, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Grand Slam champions France, as they appear to be peaking in time for the Rugby World Cup, which gets underway in just 14 months.

Follow all the action from Eden Park below with our live blog:

New Zealand vs Ireland live updates

  • New Zealand thrash Ireland 42-19 in Auckland

  • Ardie Savea scores two of six All Black tries

  • Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki score for Ireland

Peter O’Mahony reflects on Ireland’s defeat

10:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I thought we started really well, got into our flow nicely, but a couple of loose plays and a couple of dropped balls and a side of the All Blacks quality will take advantage. I think the challenge is to be consistent with our ball skills.

“Set piece battle was tough. I think the All Blacks got the upper hand. Three tests over here, it is a huge honour to be here, and I thought it was a great first test match. Plenty to work on for our side but a huge amount to take from it.

“We’ve got to understand how important it is to hold on to the ball and keep phases. WE have got to be on our very, very best game and be as consistent as we want to be.”

F/T! New Zealand 42-19 Ireland

10:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sam Cane has a chat with the host broadcaster on New Zealand’s win.

“We are pretty pleased. It is a good start to the year for sure. Super crowd tonight, it is so awesome to be playing at home and we really felt them tonight.

“We were good for patches, but we’ve got a lot to work on. The boys defended really well right to the end, the 85th minute. Our discipline was good to start to the game.

“It wasn’t an ideal week by any means, but this group has been through a lot in the last 18 months, and it put us in good stead for this week in terms of rolling with the punches. It was nice to be able to come out here in front of a home crowd.”

FULL TIME! NEW ZEALAND 42-19 IRELAND

10:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand 42-19 Ireland, 85 minutes

10:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

But Ireland’s maul goes down in a dishevelled heap and that, finally, will be that.

New Zealand 42-19 Ireland, 83 minutes

10:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Held up once more! More stern defence on the goalline from New Zealand, Angus Ta’avao somehow halting a locomotive-like Josh van der Flier and his teammates again preventing an Irish back-row from getting the ball down.

Another penalty to Ireland, though, and another visit to the corner.

New Zealand 42-19 Ireland, 81 minutes

10:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Right, one more chance at late joy for Ireland. Another advantage coming, Jack Conan looks for the score..held up! Good defensive work from Dalton Papalii to keep himself between Conan’s right arm and the turf in-goal, Leicester Fainga’anuku also in close attention to prevent Conan reaching for exposed grass nearby.

There is that penalty to return to. Ireland kick for the corner.

Yellow card! Karl Tu’inukuafe is sent to the sin bin! New Zealand 42-19 Ireland, 79 minutes

09:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It will have no bearing on the result but New Zealand have just lost their way in the dying embers. Another ruck penalty and Karl Tu’inukuafe won’t be on the field for the final whistle, sent for the naughty step by Karl Dickson after that earlier team warning.

Ireland can launch a final assault on the All Blacks line from inside the 22 after the hosts are again penalised.

TRY! New Zealand 42-19 IRELAND (Bundee Aki try, 77 minutes)

09:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Finally, Ireland are over! They charge back into the All Blacks after gathering the goalline dropout, and make swift advance through the New Zealand 22. Bundee Aki cuts a lovely line and provides the appropriately forthright finishing touches. A nice moment for the Auckland-born centre.

New Zealand 42-12 Ireland, 75 minutes

09:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More ill discipline from the All Blacks, Scott Barrett rather emphatically using his shoulder illegally at the ruck, Ireland’s quick tap perhaps saving him from further trouble as the TMO does not have time for another look.

Another player failing to roll away draws a warning for Ardie Savea, now New Zealand’s captain. He has a chat with his team as they prepare for another goalline stand.

Held up! Andrew Porter is over the line but can’t force the ball to floor as Sam Whitelock locks his big limbs around the ball. A questionable entry from Whitelock, as Porter did not appear to be quite to the line as the lock knifed in, but he gets away with it and New Zealand survive.

New Zealand 42-12 Ireland, 73 minutes

09:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from Ireland, Robbie Henshaw fending away Braydon Ennor as he makes good progress on the outside arc. Beauden Barrett makes little effort to vacate a ruck and Ireland return to the New Zealand 22.

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 42-12 Ireland (Pita Gus Sowakula try, 71 minutes)

09:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A try on debut for big Pita Gus Sowakula! Go forward again at the scrum for New Zealand, Angus Ta’avao’s shove opening up space to the right for Sowakula. Off he stomps with bristling intent, finding limited resistance from the Irish defence and diving beneath the posts.

He’s a popular figure, and is mobbed by his teammates as the broadest of smiles spreads across his face. Jordie Barrett pops through two more from the tee.

New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 69 minutes

09:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another penalty for New Zealand in the shadow of the Irish posts. They opt for the scrum, which has been pretty scrappy for most of the evening.

Karl Dickson whistles - Ireland called for collapsing on the loosehead side, where Andrew Porter is still battling on. They will go again. You wonder if Cian Healy actually is fit enough to play any sort of part.

New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 66 minutes

09:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Two of the strongest men in world rugby collide in midfield, Ardie Savea quickly on to a rumbling Tadhg Furlong, grappling like judoka as they fight for physical superiority. Honours even as they collapse on the spot.

Sam Whitelock is another in black to have had a very fine Auckland evening, and wins a turnover.

More changes for both sides - Braydon Ennor and Dalton Papalii are on for the All Blacks, while Tom O’Toole and Kieran Treadwell have been introduced by Andy Farrell. Dave Heffernan’s stay on the pitch is unfortunately brief - soon after he comes on for Dan Sheehan, Heffernan is forced to exit with an injury. A shame for the Connacht hooker.

New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 63 minutes

09:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This has been another excellent performance from Brodie Retallick, not that we should expect anything different from a modern second row master. He looks in real discomfort moments before taking his place in the New Zealand lineout, but nonetheless gets up in the air with a grimace, coming down and single-handedly ending Ireland’s chances of any kind of progress with a driving maul.

Off he then trudges, replaced by Pita Gus Sowakula, who earns a deserved debut. His installation at number eight will necessitate a back-five reshuffle - Ardie Savea moves to the flank and Scott Barrett into the engine room.

New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 61 minutes

09:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Changes for the All Blacks - Finlay Christie is on for Aaron Smith and Karl Tu’inukuafe for George Bower. Richie Mo’unga has joined proceedings, too - he is now at ten, Beauden Barrett at fifteen, Jordie Barrett at twelve, with Quinn Tupaea’s day done.

B Barrett’s clearing kick flies out on the full, but the latest Irish lineout mishandle grants New Zealand a second chance to thump for touch, this time from within the safety of their 22. Ireland lineout beyond the ten-metre.

No try! New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 59 minutes

09:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Clever pop from Peter O’Mahony to Josh van der Flier and the flanker is over beneath the posts!

Or is he? The All Blacks aren’t sure, and the replays show why - Van der Flier has knocked on! Wow! Another vital intervention from Rieko Ioane, this time getting a hand on to the ball as the Irish openside seemed certain to crash over, jarring it loose!

Ireland shake their heads. Two virtually certain scores go begging in quick succession.

No try! New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 58 minutes

09:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It isn’t! Referee and TMO are in agreement that the tackle is just on the shoulder and not, therefore, high. No try, no penalty try, and indeed no penalty for that incident.

Ireland did have an earlier offside to return to. Dan Sheehan puts ball on floor, tapping with his boot and asking his forwards to come with him for another batter on the New Zealand door...

Try? New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 58 minutes

09:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It appears Carbery may just have lost his grip of the ball as he reaches for the line. It’s close, but there appears to be separation.

Now, on to Rieko Ioane’s tackle. Is it high?

Try? New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 58 minutes

09:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Can Ireland punch over? Again their continutity is good as forwards and backs use the ball comfortably. Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong combine nicely.

Now then - has Joey Carbery got that down? Has a high tackle prevented him? Karl Dickson has called for a consultation with Marius van der Westhuizen...

New Zealand 35-12 Ireland, 56 minutes

09:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Samisoni Taukei’aho has replaced Codie Taylor in the New Zealand front row, and Angus Ta’avao is on, too, on the tighthead.

Sevu Reece nearly snares another intercept score, but can’t collect his flick up. Penalty to Ireland for a deliberate knock-on.

Irish changes now, too - Bundee Aki for Keith Earls (Garry Ringrose will occupy the right wing) and Jack Conan for Caelan Doris. Dan Sheehan hits his lineout jumper inside the New Zealand 22.

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 35-12 Ireland (Ardie Savea try, 54 minutes)

09:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A thing of beauty from Ardie Savea! His first score was opportunistic, this is outstanding, collecting a miss ball in the 13 channel and showing his dynamite feet, skipping to the outside of Garry Ringrose.

Robbie Henshaw is next to have a go at ending Savea’s charge, but falls from his pumping piston limbs, and Keith Earls cannot halt his progress, either. Savea has two, New Zealand have five and the lead is restored to 23 by Jordie Barrett’s clean kick.

New Zealand 28-12 Ireland, 52 minutes

09:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Relief for Ireland - New Zealand have a nudge on but only due to an early shunt before Aaron Smith had fed the ball in. Joey Carbery punts for the safe embrace of the touchline. Only a free kick, so still New Zealand’s ball.

New Zealand 28-12 Ireland, 51 minutes

09:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Penalty to New Zealand as Andrew Porter is deemed to have gone down. More of the same, say the burly-men, again binding to one another for a second scrum.

New Zealand 28-12 Ireland, 49 minutes

09:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Dan Sheehan is offside in midfield. Another New Zealand penalty.

James Ryan receives some treatment as the All Blacks make their minds up over what to do with it. Peter O’Mahony, who has taken over the captaincy from Johnny Sexton, it appears, has a word with Karl Dickson about the legality of New Zealand’s ruck clearouts, but othing requires a further look.

Eventually, New Zealand signal for a scrum. Six metres or so out, directly in front of the crossbar. Purring with possibilities.

New Zealand 28-12 Ireland, 47 minutes

09:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Delicious handling from Aaron Smith, flicking blindly out the back door to Leicester Fainga’anuku. Sam Whitelock wins the next collision and Peter O’Mahony then has a second dig at the ruck having tumbled off his feet when first contesting. Penalty New Zealand - and into the Irish 22 they saunter for a lineout.

New Zealand 28-12 Ireland, 46 minutes

09:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand are again penalised soon after the restart. That’s three in six second-half minutes against the All Blacks - not how Ian Foster would have wanted his side to resume.

Ireland make a mess of their lineout, though, and Codie Taylor sniffs out the morsels on the floor to grant New Zealand attacking ball on halfway.

TRY! New Zealand 28-12 IRELAND (Garry Ringrose try, 44 minutes)

09:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The perfect start to the half for Ireland! New Zealand twice infringe at the ruck, allowing Ireland to work the phases and chose their moment to look to strike out wide. Joey Carbery is fizzed a nice pass by Jamison Gibson-Park behind the forward carriers, and Hugo Keenan drives close.

A quick recycle and Ireland swing the ball to the left, James Lowe spinning out of a tackle and offloading to Garry Ringrose, who does very, very well to reach for the corner just as Ardie Savea arrives to drive him into touch. Carbery’s fine conversion ensures it is a seven pointer.

New Zealand 28-5 Ireland, 42 minutes

09:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Limited early progress for the ball, and as it begins to crab infield, Dan Sheehan is forced to go it alone. Joey Carbery also casts a rather lonely figure as he wanders to the blindside, and is a little fortunate that George Bower’s failure to roll away earns Ireland a penalty. Once more to the corner.

New Zealand 28-5 Ireland, 41 minutes

09:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Good start for Ireland, working the width well and earning a penalty on the edge of New Zealand’s 22 due to a lazy retreating All Black defender. No thought of the three, obviously - pushed into the right corner.

The second half is underway!

09:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Second half set to begin...

09:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No Johnny Sexton for Ireland as they prepare to kick off the second half. He has failed his HIA, and with the 12-day brain injury stand down, he will likely be out of the second encounter of the series, too. Over to you, Joey Carbery...

Is there any way that Ireland can claw their way back into this?

H/T: New Zealand 28-5 Ireland

09:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France survive significant Japan test

09:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

While we await the resumption in Auckland, news from elsewhere, and a rather entertaining encounter between Japan and France in Aichi. It was 13-13 at halftime and Japan had caused plenty of problems for a strong French side, but the Grand Slammers eventually had the quality to power away. Promising for Japan, though, with a number of newer faces in Jamie Joseph’s side.

H/T: New Zealand 28-5 Ireland

09:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Here’s the second score, Sevu Reece’s long, unimpeded canter from coast-to-coast after Ireland had toiled for several minutes inside the New Zealand 22. This rather set the tone for the remainder of the first half.

H/T: New Zealand 28-5 Ireland

08:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That all got out of hand rather quickly for Ireland after a really promising opening 20 minutes or so. The All Blacks have been ruthless thereafter, pouncing on too-regular Irish inaccuracies to seize control of the contest after Keith Earls had capped that early Ireland supremacy with a well-taken score. New Zealand had been awfullly rusty in that opening quarter - you’d suggest those four first-half scores may just have brushed that away.

HALF TIME! NEW ZEALAND 28-5 IRELAND

08:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 28-5 Ireland (Ardie Savea try, 39 minutes)

08:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Try! The All Blacks blitz continues, every opportunity being taken. Smith did indeed manage to divert the ball backwards, and an unfortunate bounce took it out of the grasp of both Peter O’Mahony and James Lowe, sliding over their own line. Ardie Savea kept his feet and flops in glee on the loose ball - and a fourth Jordie Barrett conversion adds two more.

Try? New Zealand 21-5 Ireland, 38 minutes

08:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is a tough one. Keith Earls had raced back well to contest the gather with Smith after the scrum-half had chipped over Hugo Keenan, but it looks like the All Blacks’ hands have got their first. Has he scooped it back, though?

It looks like he may have done. TMO Marius van der Westhuizen’s verdict is...

Try? This will be checked! New Zealand 21-5 Ireland, 38 minutes

08:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Have New Zealand got another? It’s a brilliant break from Aaron Smith, dummying and darting away from the base of a ruck, but has he knocked the ball on as he attempted to ground before Ardie Savea completed the job?

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 21-5 Ireland (Quinn Tupaea try, 36 minutes)

08:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Dribbled through by Beauden Barrett and Quinn Tupaea collects and scores! It is another mess of Ireland’s own making, plenty of bodies populating a ruck soon after the lineout but never quite securing the ball, Aaron Smith radioing his forwards in to ensure it then comes back on the All Blacks’ side.

Barrett and his backs switch quickly from defence to attack, the fly-half assessing his options as the Irish line rush forward at him. He spots great open expanses of pasture in the backfield, dropping ball to right instep and inviting Tupaea to pick up beneath the posts and score New Zealand’s third.

Another Jordie Barrett conversion and things are beginning to go swiftly south for Ireland.

New Zealand 14-5 Ireland, 34 minutes

08:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ireland have looked to keep the ball in play a lot, kicking infield rather than for the stands with perhaps ill-conceived regularity. The All Blacks are just beginning to stir, tackling with real might as Ireland begin to look the sloppier side in a game that continues to be scrappy.

Ireland will throw a lineout in their own 22 after New Zealand play the percentages.

New Zealand 14-5 Ireland, 32 minutes

08:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And to add to Ireland’s woe, Sexton is being led off by a medic. It appears his head took a nasty bang from Sam Cane’s left thigh as he collided with his fellow skipper after that untimely slip. For a player with a history of brain injuries, that isn’t particularly good to see.

Joey Carbery on.

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 14-5 Ireland (Sevu Reece, 30 minutes)

08:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

From inside his own 22, Reece puts his foot down and there is no catching him!

Ireland rather ran out of puff and purpose, increasingly ragged as they try to reset having lost a number of gainline collisions. Sexton is back on his feet and trying to orchestrate but it is all a half-beat off, Garry Ringrose juggling his fly-half’s pass slightly and then passing in front of a slipping James Lowe.

Reece’s feet, hands and intentions are certain as he gathers the bouncing oval ball and sets off for the posts at the far end. Another Jordie Barrett conversion extends the All Blacks’ advantage.

New Zealand 7-5 Ireland, 28 minutes

08:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another imperfect exit from the All Blacks and here again come Ireland. Johnny Sexton falls awkwardly as his feet go out from under him as he prepares to take contact, and his absence from the line just forces a stall in the Irish movement.

Hang on - a loose pass and Sevu Reece is cantering away!

New Zealand 7-5 Ireland, 27 minutes

08:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aaron Smith’s clearance isn’t the prettiest and Lowe lets out some frustration with an angry rumble into the New Zealand chasers. Ireland win back a crossfield hoist but make little gain. Garry Ringrose arcs to the outside but is felled by Brodie Retallick’s go-go-gadget arms, and the ball again spills into touch on Lowe’s left wing.

New Zealand 7-5 Ireland, 26 minutes

08:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ireland explore an intriguingly large blindside from the back of the scrum, but the All Blacks drift and hold their feet as the Irish cogs interchange in attack, and an ambitiously flat pass for James Lowe on the extreme left tumbles forwards from the former Tasman Mako’s fingers.

New Zealand 7-5 Ireland, 24 minutes

08:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Enormous cheers from the Eden Park crowd as Richie McCaw is shown smiling on the big screen. The All Blacks look like they could use their old captain’s calm as they again make a mess of their handling of the Irish restart.

TRY! NEW ZEALAND 7-5 Ireland (Jordie Barrett, 22 minutes)

08:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Just like that, the All Blacks strike! That’s more like it from New Zealand, keeping hold of the ball and moving it quickly, Aaron Smith adding the fizz.

After Sevu Reece makes inroads down the right, it is over to the left, Sam Whitelock deftly playing the pivot and pulling-back as he swivels at the line to create space. Quick hands from centre partners Rieko Ioane and Quinn Tupaea send Leicester Fainga’anuku charging down the touchline.

Fainga’anuku is somehow quelled by two desperate diving Irish bodies within a metre of the line, but Jordie Barrett on the short line in the next phase will not be. He adds the conversion to push New Zealand into the lead.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 19 minutes

08:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ireland nearly win their own kick back but New Zealand have just enough numbers there to handle Johnny Sexton’s clever chip. There’s definitely space in behind for Sexton to exploit - Jordie Barrett perhaps sitting a little too deep so far.

Ireland defend the New Zealand attack well, but aren’t hugely challenged. The All Blacks really haven’t found their attacking shape so far, but will get another chance to play from the back of an attacking scrum.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 17 minutes

08:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from Ireland at scrum time, forcing unsteady ball that Ardie Savea and Aaron Smith must stabilise, ending any chance of an All Blacks launch play. They thus kick the ball to Ireland.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 16 minutes

08:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s a general untidiness to the recent exchanges. Now Ireland make an error, and then rip the ball forward from New Zealand hands.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 15 minutes

08:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The All Blacks lineout ends up in Irish hands. A little messy - New Zealand just struggling to settle in.

And here come Ireland! Lovely grubber from Johnny Sexton, threaded through for Garry Ringrose to collect. Can he find Jamison Gibson-Park? Not quite! Superb from Beauden Barrett, reading the pass to pluck it out of the air as Gibson-Park prepared for a 35-metre sprint for the line.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 14 minutes

08:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Or not! That’s a strong shove from New Zealand, Ofa Tu’ungafasi forcing Andrew Porter to turn in under pressure. Penalty to New Zealand.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 13 minutes

08:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand close the gap and are free kicked. Ireland’s forwards fancy a go at the scrum just inside the All Blacks 22 - after the inevitable reset, this should present strong attacking ball...

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 11 minutes

08:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ambition from the All Blacks for the first time as Jordie Barrett eschews a clearance and opts to run from inside his own 22. He makes strong progress and there is a suspicion of a high tackle, but Ireland soon win the ball back, Peter O’Mahony the first player on his feet and thus able to play the ball with his hands.

A toe ahead is hared after gamely by Keith Earls, who forces a diving Quinn Tupaea to push into touch. Ireland lineout deep in New Zealand territory.

New Zealand 0-5 Ireland, 10 minutes

08:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Biff! Garry Ringrose inspects Sam Cane’s lower ribs with his right shoulder as the All Blacks captain juggles a short pass, leaving his midriff rather open to Ringrose’s thump. A firm hit, a knock-on, and an Ireland scrum on their own ten-metre.

TRY! New Zealand 0-5 IRELAND (Keith Earls, 7 minutes)

08:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Keith Earls has the space to score in the right corner!

As soon as Karl Dickson’s arm goes out Johnny Sexton calls for the ball, setting up his backs for something more intricate outside him. An inside ball is well marked by New Zealand, but Hugo Keenan manages to fling an offload out to Earls.

Earls squares up Jordie Barrett and darts to the inside of the exposed full-back for the score. Patience and accuracy across many phases - a familiar Irish tale in the 22. Less accurate is Sexton’s conversion, but that’s a very good start for Andy Farrell’s side.

New Zealand 0-0 Ireland, 5 minutes

08:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Fine continuity from Ireland, and excellent intensity in the carry, all three front-rowers prominent. Within five metres of the line now, can Robbie Henshaw get there? No, what a tackle from Scott Barrett! But the All Blacks infringe, and Ireland can play with the freedom of the advantage...

New Zealand 0-0 Ireland, 4 minutes

08:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Solid lineout and exit from Ireland, though James Lowe fails to find touch with his clearance. Sevu Reece beats the first chaser but is hauled down, colliding awkwardly with Brodie Retallick. The ball pops free and Aaron Smith picks up from an offside position - a slightly fortuitous penalty for Ireland but one that Johnny Sexton will gladly punt onwards towards the New Zealand 22.

A good maul affords Dan Sheehan a chance to burst away and to within a metre of the New Zealand red zone, and more beefy forward carries earn Ireland a first 22 entry...

New Zealand 0-0 Ireland, 3 minutes

08:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Rieko Ioane makes metres down the left and Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett settle into their playmaking work, picking their runners without too many elaborate shapes. Sam Whitelock is well held by the Irish defence, and the All Blacks are content to call it there, B.Barrett poking a diagonal grubber into the Irish 22 and happy enough as it rolls out of play.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi drops to the floor to receive some early treatment, but will be ok to continue.

New Zealand 0-0 Ireland, 2 minutes

08:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Steady enough, with rough parity as the forwards push for the first time.

The two sides trade long thumpings, James Lowe punting to Beauden Barrett, who then foxes Hugo Keenan with a spiralled flight. Keenan just about controls, gathers, and clears, but New Zealand run it back with interest for the first time.

New Zealand 0-0 Ireland, 1 minute

08:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A shaky start for Ireland, failing to claim Beauden Barrett’s central lifted kick-off, and then nearly losing control at the breakdown. A New Zealand hand has knocked the ball on, though. Irish scrum feed.

KICK OFF!

08:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New Zealand vs Ireland is underway!

Here we go...

08:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England’s Karl Dickson has been given the biggest appointment of his refereeing career - he’s got the whistle this evening with a key role to play against two sides who like to keep things moving. Marius van der Westhuizen is the TMO.

Haka

08:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The All Blacks march into position and prepare to lay the challenge down. TJ Perenara has been one of those leading the Haka for the last few years but is no longer part of the matchday squad, so the duty falls to fellow scrum-half Aaron Smith, a smaller figure weaving between the stomping bodies of his forwards as he launches into that powerful, driving call. Sam Cane heads the isoceles triangle, angry eyes as he squats with hands on hoips for the final note.

Ireland seem largely unperturbed, but watch with respect and no tomfoolery.

God Defend New Zealand

08:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Now this is new - an acapella quartet dubbed the “Drax Project” lead Eden Park in a tuneful rendition of the two-language “God Defend New Zealand”.

“Ireland’s Call"

08:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Rebecca Nelson has the duties of belting out “Ireland’s Call”, joined by the Irish players and a relatively healthy smattering of green jerseys up in the stands. A few waving flags, too - this is Ireland’s only tour of this World Cup cycle, of course, and they have travelled in both good number and with plenty of optimism.

And here are Sam Cane and New Zealand

08:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Clad in that famous black jersey, Sam Cane and the New Zealand squad are jacket-less on what looks a pleasant enough evening in Auckland.

Out come Ireland

07:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Johnny Sexton looks calm as he runs out for the 107th time in international rugby, leading out his Irish side as the Eden Park home faithful make their presence known.

New Zealand vs Ireland

07:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The teams are beginning to gather themselves in the tunnel.Have Ireland ever had a better chance at a first win in New Zealand? Can the All Blacks refind their best after a middling 2021?

A debut for Leicester Fainga’anuku

07:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Forgive a momentary dip into nomenclature, but the full name of Leicester Ofa Ki Wales Twickenham Fainga’anuku deserves an explanation: New Zealand’s new wing was given his unique moniker by Malakai, his father, during the 1999 World Cup. Tonga’s sole win at that tournament was over Italy at Welford Road the day before Leicester was born - a straightforward deduction of what might have been in his dad’s thoughts.

It is, in fact, a particularly proud day for the Fainga’anukus - Leicester’s older brother Tima made his own international debut as a replacement for Tonga in a heavy Pacific Nations Cup defeat to Fiji this morning.

I understand that Malakai and his wife may be watching on at Eden Park. All Black left wings tend to go well - what danger can Leicester pose Ireland today?

And now Andy Farrell has a natter with the broadcaster

07:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“It’s the ultimate challenge, isn’t it? It doesn’t get any bigger than Eden Park on a dry evening. We know the challenge in front of us, but are excited at the same time.

“Finlay Bealham has got Covid, but Cian is fit, so we adapt and move on. There’s been all sorts of curve balls over the last ten days.

“I want to see some courage. I want to see us be ourselves from the word go. We know it won’t be perfect.”

Ian Foster speaks to Sky Sports about his experience of Covid and a week of disruption

07:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I’m great. I got off with a very mild dose but it was a very unique week preparing a team sitting at home via Zoom. But we are pretty much ready for this one now.

“To be fair, we’ve had two years like this in some ways, it just happens to be me and a couple of coaches this week. Sometimes different is good. The boys have enjoyed the challenge. It is going to be an outstanding test match between two great teams.

“We’ve kind of felt like an away team for the last two years so in our mind this is the biggest series we’ve had since the Lions in 2017. A lot of kudos goes to Ireland for making sure this series will be an outstanding one.”

Can Ireland break their duck?

07:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Despite that midweek defeat, Ireland are rightly optimistic of a first win in New Zealand during the course of this tour. Most of this side have beaten the All Blacks, some more than once, and there are a number who will have fond memories of the Lions’ tour here in 2017. Could this be the day? If Ireland can start fast, it might just be...

Is Ian Foster under pressure?

07:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

For most sides, a return of 12 wins from 15 games across a busy year of international rugby would have represented a strong campaign, but things are different when you are coaching the All Blacks. Ian Foster is certainly under a bit of pressure after 2021, particularly following those two defeats on tour last November where his side failed to come particularly close against both France and Ireland.

How will they react this evening? They haven’t lost at Eden Park in 28 years, and the rugby public in New Zealand are beginning to demand definite improvement with next year’s World Cup starting to loom.

New Zealand vs Ireland Team News - Covid forces late change for Andy Farrell

07:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Midweek defeat to the Maori All Blacks was not perhaps the way that Andy Farrell would have wished to begin a gruelling tour schedule, but this is a very different Irish side. Back are all the big guns that finished as Six Nations runners-up.

Keith Earls was a midweek starter and retains his place, filling Andrew Conway’s hard-chasing, defensively-sound role on the right wing, while Peter O’Mahony is preferred to Jack Conan in the back row, allowing Caelan Doris to take the number eight shirt.

New Zealand aren’t the only ones dealing with Covid disruption – Finlay Bealham has been scratched off the bench after a positive test, meaning a late call-up for Tom O’Toole to provide prop cover alongside Cian Healy, who has made a remarkable recovery from what looked a serious injury on Wednesday.

Ireland: Keenan; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; Beirne, Ryan; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Heffernan, Healy, O’Toole, Treadwell, Conan; Murray, Carbery, Aki

New Zealand vs Ireland Team News - Strong All Blacks side named after disrupted week

07:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It hasn’t been the most straightforward week for the All Blacks, with a raft of positive Covid tests a rather unhelpful encumbrance ahead of their first international business of the year. Ian Foster, head coach, and a number of his staff have been in isolation, necessitating the parachuting in of, among others, former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt to ensure that the chosen, Covid-free 23 would be ready to go.

This is a big series for Foster, with the feeling in Aotearoa that he has rather flattered to deceive so far and serious questions about whether he is the man to maximise a talented, but flawed, playing group. Both Foster and assistant John Plumtree have now been cleared and will be at Eden Park today.

The squad named is, of course, strong, with a couple of new faces. Power running wing Leicester Fainga’anuku makes a debut in a backline that would likely have included both Jack Goodhue and Will Jordan if available. Up front, Scott Barrett starts on the blindside for the first time since an ill-conceived appearance on the flank in World Cup semi-final defeat to England – indicative of the problems that Foster has had balancing his side in his tenure so far.

On the bench is another potential debutant: Pita Gus Sowakula has built steadily from provincial standout to Super Rugby star, with particularly skillful hands adding softer touches to his physical gifts.

New Zealand: J Barrett; Reece, R Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga’anuku; B Barrett, Smith; Bower, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi; Retallick, Whitelock; S Barrett, Cane, Savea.

Replacements: Taukei’aho, Tu’inukuafe, Ta’avao, Sowakula, Papalii; Christie, Mo’unga, Ennor.

New Zealand vs Ireland

07:27 , Ben Burrows

Head injuries are back in the spotlight following the treatment of Jeremy Loughman against the Maoris.

New Zealand Rugby admitted communication errors meant concussion rules were not fully adhered to after the Munster prop, who will not be involved this weekend, returned to the field despite struggling to stand after a collision.

The governing body vowed to ensure protocols are properly followed for the remainder of Ireland’s tour.

The extent of Cian Healy’s participation will also be of interest.

Healy, who twice replaced Loughman, has made a rapid recovery from what was initially feared to be a serious leg injury to be named on the bench.

New Zealand vs Ireland

07:20 , Ben Burrows

Farrell was left with plenty to ponder after an experimental Ireland team were outclassed by the Maori All Blacks in midweek.

While only a warm-up fixture, the manner of the first-half performance in Hamilton - when the youthful visitors conceded four tries - was still cause for concern.

Wing Keith Earls is the only player to retain a starting spot as Farrell turns to his senior men for the first meaningful match of the tour.

New Zealand-born quartet Jamison Gibson-Park, James Lowe, Bundee Aki and Joey Carbery will each be involved, while the All Blacks’ selection includes a debut for Crusaders wideman Leicester Fainga’anuk.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

New Zealand vs Ireland

07:12 , Ben Burrows

Head coach Farrell felt Ireland may have ‘poked the bear’ by defeating the All Blacks in Dublin last autumn.

The Englishman is braced for a backlash following that stunning 29-20 victory, which was the Irish’s third in the past five meetings between the countries.

Rival coach Foster described the display as the best opposition performance he had encountered.

Yet Ireland have never defeated their hosts on New Zealand soil, losing all 12 fixtures played.

Furthermore, the Kiwis have not been beaten at Eden Park since 1994 - an unbeaten run older than eight of the Irish matchday squad.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand vs Ireland

07:05 , Ben Burrows

New Zealand’s depleted coaching ranks led to an early call for Joe Schmidt.

The 56-year-old was due to join the All Blacks setup following the tour but was fast-tracked to help with preparations.

Schmidt has extensive insider knowledge of Irish rugby, having spent six years as national team coach - which culminated in a World Cup quarter-final exit to New Zealand in 2019 - following a previous stint with Leinster.

Although he has had limited time to make an impact, his presence provides an intriguing sub-plot.

New Zealand vs Ireland

06:58 , Ben Burrows

Although Ireland lost wing Mack Hansen to a positive Covid-19 test, the hosts’ build-up has been more severely affected.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster and his assistants John Plumtree, Scott McLeod and Greg Feek have each been forced to isolate, while players David Havili, Jack Goodhue and Will Jordan will miss the game after contracting the virus.

Foster was reduced to orchestrating plans remotely and joked that he was unsure if experiencing cold sweats and sleepless nights was down to illness or nerves.

The 57-year-old expects to be fit to attend the match.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

New Zealand vs Ireland

06:50 , Ben Burrows

Sheehan only made his international debut in November but has seized the Irish number two jersey due to repeated injury misfortune for Leinster teammate Ronan Kelleher.

The 23-year-old, who has also jumped ahead of Ulster’s Rob Herring in the pecking order, came on as a replacement in the autumn wins over Japan and Argentina, albeit he had to settle for a spectator role for the stunning All Blacks victory sandwiched in between.

He then established himself in Farrell’s starting XV during this year’s Six Nations after Kelleher sustained the first of two recent shoulder issues.

“At the start of my season, coming to New Zealand for a summer tour was definitely one of my main goals,” said Sheehan, who is set to win his eighth international cap.

“With all of the history that is here, how hard it is to win here, it’s something special that we get to have a crack at the All Blacks at their own ground.

“It builds it up itself, I think. Any All Blacks game is going to be a massive game and it’s going to build up in your mind. I can’t wait to get out and play a bit more rugby and see how we go over the next few weeks.”

New Zealand vs Ireland

06:42 , Ben Burrows

Hooker Dan Sheehan expects New Zealand to be out for revenge but believes Ireland’s players have a “massive opportunity” to cement places in the history books.

Andy Farrell’s in-form tourists go into the three-match series on the back of being beaten just once in 13 Tests during the past 17 months.

Yet the Irish have never tasted victory against their hosts on New Zealand soil and are set to play at a stadium in which the All Blacks hold a 46-match unbeaten record stretching back to 1994.

“We’ve been thinking about this game all year, especially after the autumn game,” said Sheehan. “We’re expecting a reaction and we’re ready for whatever comes tomorrow. I’m sure they want to get a bit of revenge on us for winning over in the Aviva. But our motivation is at top level as well.

“They haven’t lost here in 28 years - I wasn’t born - so that has it’s pressures. But, at the same time, it’s a massive opportunity for an Irish team to come over and win on New Zealand soil for the first time.

“We’re expecting a big crowd, a big apprehensive environment and we’re used to it. We’ve gone to various big stadiums across the world and we expect it to be buzzing here tomorrow night.”

New Zealand vs Ireland

06:39 , Ben Burrows

Ireland begin their fascinating three-match Test series against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland this morning, looking to make history by beating the All Blacks on their home turf for the first time.

Ireland hadn’t beaten New Zealand anywhere in the world despite 111 years of trying until they finally triumphed in memorable style in Chicago in 2016 but since then, have won three of the five fixtures contested by the sides.

Getting the better of Ian Foster’s troops at Eden Park will be a mammoth task however, as the All Blacks haven’t lost at the Auckland ground - to any opponent - since way back in 1994.

They also have some inside knowledge, with ex-Ireland coach Joe Schmidt on their coaching staff, after the native Kiwi was drafted in at short notice to fill holes left by Covid-19 isolations.

However, Andy Farrell’s troops did finish second in this year’s Six Nations, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Grand Slam champions France, as they appear to be peaking in time for the Rugby World Cup, which gets underway in just 14 months.

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