Dazzling Ireland claim historic All Blacks scalp in Dublin

"All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said that the victor of this game could justifiably claim to the world's best team and, while they remain No 2 on the rankings, Joe Schmidt's Ireland are top of the world", Ruaidhri O'Connor wrote for the Irish Independent.

Ireland produced a performance of guts and gumption to claim a 16-9 win over the All Blacks in Dublin on Saturday.

"We've just got to be prepared for what they're going to bring".

New Zealand this year swept the home series against France, won another Rugby Championship, and overcame the English at Twickenham last weekend by blanking them for the last hour in the rain.

"So you've got to gear up for that", the Ireland captain added.

"There would be no Ryan Crotty moment, rather another piece of history for Irish rugby in what is a golden age".

One of Ireland's greatest ever victories.

A determined Keith Earls run had the majority of the crowd on their feet as Ireland began to make headway and they eventually settled for three points from Sexton's boot when the All Blacks were penalised for offside.

Jack Goodhue looks on the All Blacks reflect on a rare defeat.

"But if they play 9 out of 10 and we play 9 out of 10, they win and that's the reality of it".

"From first minute to last, you couldn't take your eyes off it".

Head coach Schmidt has led Ireland to three Six Nations titles, including last year's clean sweep, turning the men in green into a genuine global power.

By that logic, Ireland have earned the right to call themselves the world's best.

"When the game's up and running it's likely to be fairly manic".

Ireland rode their luck when Kearney avoided a card for colliding with the airborne Rieko Ioane, before Peter O'Mahony swiped a loose ball from under Ben Smith's nose.

As for any conflicting thoughts as a New Zealander defeating his countrymen once again, not on this occasion.

"The electricity in the stadium was evident from the start of Amhrán na bhFiann, through the All Blacks' haka and into game itself, the atmosphere doubtless contributing to a frenetic first half which Ireland bossed for long periods".

And after passing this unremitting challenge against the back-to-back world champions, few could argue if they do.

Handre Pollard plundered 18 points to help South Africa follow up their dramatic late win against France by becoming only the second visiting team in two years to win in Scotland with a 26-20 victory on Saturday.

Asked how to stop Ireland suffocating his side with possession, Hansen replied: "You hang on to it yourself; have a crack at them at source".

"The Fields of Athenry got an impassioned airing and it was interrupted in the best possible fashion from an Irish point of view as Retallick dropped a short pass".

  • Jacqueline Ellis