Ireland went nuts.
Ireland went nuts.

World rocked by historic All Blacks shock

Ireland fans suffered through a nerve-racking final 10 minutes as their side held on for dear life against the All Blacks in Dublin this morning (AEDT) before securing a history-making victory.

Up 16-6, a Beauden Barrett penalty goal to the visitors in the 70th minute reduced the margin to seven but the Irish faithful in the stands only got louder, roaring the home team towards the finish line.

The tension was unbearable for those in green but they could cheer with even more gusto when the fulltime whistle went and confirmed a remarkable 16-9 win for the hosts, who defeated New Zealand on home soil for the first time ever.

Fans went into meltdown and players embraced as the entire country celebrated just Ireland's second win over the All Blacks.

"The last 10 minutes have seemed like an hour," one TV commentator said. "This has been an incredible Test match."

Ireland, ranked second coming into today's match, now has a valid argument to take the mantle of the world's best team.

Remarkably, the home side prevented from New Zealand from scoring a try in 80 minutes. The last time a northern hemisphere team stopped the All Blacks from crossing the stripe was all the way back in 1995.

The blockbuster matchup of the champions of each hemisphere lived up to the hype. Ireland edged a rugged first half, and in a more open second half produced a classic try and kept New Zealand tryless for the first time in more than four years.

At a highly charged Lansdowne Road, Ireland became the only team to beat New Zealand twice since the All Blacks won a second straight Rugby World Cup in 2015. The first time was in 2016 in Chicago, Ireland's first win over New Zealand in 111 years.

Even with that mental block gone, this victory was far more impressive. New Zealand was closer to full strength, and far more aware of Ireland's threats. But it didn't matter.

Even after enduring a hugely physical first half that was exhausting just to watch, Ireland had the wherewithal to perfectly execute a try-scoring move from a lineout near halfway. Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton switched the play to Bundee Aki running back to the short side, and winger Jacob Stockdale chipped ahead. He brushed past the surprised All Blacks, regathered and slid in from 5m out.

Sexton converted from wide out for 16-6 with half an hour to go, and put the pressure right back on the All Blacks.

But they limited them to just one more penalty.

 

It’s a grand day to be Irish.
It’s a grand day to be Irish.

No. 8 CJ Stander hailed his teammates' huge defensive effort. "We always pride ourselves in attack but today our defence was unreal," Stander said.

"To keep them scoreless in tries was unbelievable. The boys really stood up."

Peter O'Mahony was one of Ireland's best and was ecstatic he was able to be part of history.

"We knew we would have to be relentless,"O'Mahony said. "We knew we would have to play the best game of this squad's tenure and it was up there. We were fighting for the cause.

"It's a big piece of history for us - it's one that we wanted to tick off in Ireland, so happy days."

Ireland's New Zealand-born coach Joe Schmidt was also full of praise for his troops. "I was proud of them, they should be proud of themselves," he said.

"It was such a fine margin, you take those ones. The All Blacks are going to get better and we are going to be challenged to get better.

"The crowd was unbelievable."

New Zealand couldn’t break the Irish.
New Zealand couldn’t break the Irish.

NZ Herald sports writer Gregor Paul said Ireland deserves to be recognised as the No. 1 team in the world, even if the official rankings don't show it.

"Ireland can now claim to be the best team in the world after producing a stunning performance that was brave, creative and relentless," Paul wrote.

"They deserved the win and with it, they deserve to be seen as world rugby's best team even if the rankings don't agree.

"They were unbreakable. They were so resolute that you have to wonder what was in each and every one of heir engines.

"It will be a long, long time before we witness a performance that brave. They were the better team. They had an answer to everything the All Blacks threw at them and they never panicked, never looked overawed by the occasion."

Writing for stuff.co.nz, Richard Knowler praised Ireland's relentless determination to not give the visitors' an inch.

"Ireland were like ruthless cyborgs as they clinically followed the formula that had proved such a success for them in the Six Nations," he wrote.

"The Irishmen came in waves and at times the All Blacks were barely hanging on."

Irish Times correspondent Keith Duggan said the crowd's impact cannot be underestimated. He said the platform for something special was loud when Irish fans roared as one following the All Blacks' haka.

"It was then that Irish crowd rose, filling the silence with a huge, primal roar of Ireland," Duggan wrote. "It wasn't disrespectful but it was reflective of a new attitude; a boldness and ambition that previous New Zealand teams maybe did not encounter on visits to this ground."

Kiwis coach Steve Hansen was all class in defeat, saying although his own players tried their guts out they were outclassed by the better team.

"I'd like to congratulate Ireland," Hansen said. "They played superbly well, they took their chances in the game and we didn't take ours, and our discipline fell down a little in the first half.

"The effort from our boys was first class and we just got beaten by the better team."

With AP