Andy Farrell’s Ireland made history, beating the All Blacks on their own court for the first time.
In an action-packed four-card friendly – one red for New Zealand substitute Angus Ta’avao – Andrew Porter scored twice while Johnny Sexton awarded three penalties as the visitors set up a series decider in Wellington next week.
Beaten well seven days earlier, they were clearly the better side here against an undisciplined opponent.
After a quick start last week, Ireland came out of the traps even quicker this time.
After an initial shot from Tadhg Beirne and with Mack Hansen reintroduced, it was Porter who broke through Quinn Tupaea’s tackle and scored after less than three minutes.
With the events of a week ago having proved instructive, nobody in the green jersey is going to get carried away.
But without Sam Whitelock in the Kiwi pack this week, the sight of James Ryan pinching a key line after James Lowe was caught pulling Tupaea off the ball has also raised hopes.
But Ireland also had their early inaccuracies, Robbie Henshaw spilling a ball forward as the visitors saved a set piece.
A penalty from Sexton stretched the lead to ten points as the quarter-hour mark approached and the first of a series of controversial moments in the game ensued.
As Mack Hansen advanced Ireland’s right flank, Leicester flew Fainga’anuku into an attempt to attack, missing the ball completely and then knocking out the Connacht man.
A cut under Hansen’s eye showed where touch had taken place, but referee Jaco Peyper and his TMO only agreed on a yellow card.
An Irish ball five yards from the ensuing penalty hit in the corner only added to their frustration.
Curious action continued when Garry Ringrose, after brilliant work on the blindside, was taken off the ball by the blindside with what appeared to be a clear run to the line, but Peyper opted for a yellow card for Ofa Tu’ungafasi, but with no penalty attempt.
With Ireland still pressing, Ireland saved their sloppiest passage of the game for the time the All Blacks had 13 men, a push from Ireland that stopped the final attack before Fainga’anuku returned.
Porter was pinged on another scrum, with the set piece requiring Ta’avao to come on the field to give the All Blacks two props.
When the replacement tighthead flew up and collided head-on with Ringrose, this time it was ruled a red card offence.
Ringrose’s game was also over, replaced by Bundee Aki, and New Zealand’s third card of the game would see them play negative numbers for the final 50 minutes.
Knowing they would never stand a better chance of winning on Kiwi soil, Ireland failed to extend their advantage, although undisputed scrums brought two all black backs into the set piece, with a James Lowe push shortening a five-on-three.
Ireland had every reason to believe that the Kiwis should have had even fewer players in the park, as the laws said they should have played with 12 instead of 13 at the time, but officials seemed to overlook this.
There was another farce when the game had to be stopped when the yellow cards came back on the field as it was explained that the hosts had 15 men on the field despite the red card.
In the end, one can only guess that losing Ardie Savea in the shuffle for the rest of the game wasn’t what Ian Foster intended.
Still, going through half-time without further concessions will have been seen as a real victory, especially as James Ryan was sent to the bin in the last minute of half-time.
With the clock in the red, a bizarre half was capped with a suitably bizarre try, the ball spurting out of a ruck and kicking Porter through the legs of Beauden Barrett, who happily smashed it to score.
After all the topics of conversation of the previous 40 minutes, it was only a 10:7 game at the turn.
Ireland started the second half knowing they had to make more of the openings they had created after inefficiency in both the first half and the first Test and got exactly what they were looking for.
Porter, who had scored just two goals in his Test career prior to this game, got his second of the day when he rushed over from close range just before Ryan returned to restore Ireland’s numerical advantage.
A penalty from Sexton meant New Zealand needed two converted tries to take the lead and as the game reached the final quarter, that most uncharacteristic of Blacks performances never looked set to achieve those results.
A sensational tap tackle by Caelan Doris ensured that the gap could not be closed after the full hour. And when Sexton made it 23-7 with 13 minutes to go, victory felt almost certain.
New Zealand ended the game looking for a consolation point, which they would eventually secure through the fit Will Jordan, but by that point the delicious prospect of a crucial Test next week was already looming.
Trials: Beauden Barrett, Jordan. Cons: Jordie Barrett (1)
Attempts: Porter (2). Cons: Sexton (2). Pens: Sexton (3)
NEW ZEALAND: Jordie Barrett; Sevu Reece, Reiko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, Leicester Fainga’anuku (YC 18-28 – Will Jordan 48); Beauden Barrett (Richie Mo’unga 55), Aaron Smith (Folau Fakatava 60); George Bower (Aidan Ross 63), Codie Taylor (Samisoni Taukei’aho 55), Ofa Tu’ungafasi (YC– 25-35), Brodie Retallick (Patrick Tupulotu 43-53), Scott Barrett (Patrick Tupulotu 73), Dalton Papalii (Angus Ta’avao 25-30 – RC 30 – Papalii (Pita Gus Sowakula 68), Sam Cane, Ardie Savea (Aidan Ross 32)
IRELAND: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose (Bundee Aki 30), Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (Joey Carbery 74), Jamison Gibson Park (Conor Murray 68); Andrew Porter (Cian Healy 65), Dan Sheehan (Rob Herring 63), Tadhg Furlong (Finlay Bealham 65); James Ryan (YC 38 – Kieran Treadwell 68), Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (Caelan Doris 78), Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris (Jack Conan ’63)
referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/history-made-as-andrew-porter-double-sends-ireland-on-way-to-first-ever-over-all-blacks-on-new-zealand-soil-41826889.html History made as Andrew Porter sends Ireland on their way to their first win over All Blacks on New Zealand soil