WE WERE IN the Christchurch estate of Addington and crammed in with 21,000 other souls at the AMI Stadium to watch the Second Test between Ireland and the All Blacks.
Declan Kidney’s men were soundly beaten at Eden Park last weekend but believed they could show the world champions what they are really made of.
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New Zealand 22-19 Ireland
7.32 – Welcome along everybody to a Christchurch, if weather reports from home are to be believed, resembles the entire nation of Ireland at present.
We’ve had a couple of rain showers hours earlier in the day of rain but conditions have eased as the game neared. The sun is down now, though, and thermal underclothes are the order of the day.
You can get yourself up to speed on events by reading our match preview here.
7.47 – Here are the line-ups …
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O’Driscoll (captain), Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Dan Tuohy, Donnacha Ryan, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Donncha O’Callaghan, Peter O’Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O’Gara, Simon Zebo.
Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin and Mike Ross come into the mix. Andrew Trimble’s sound defensive game means he replaces Simon Zebo and Gordon D’Arcy steps in for the injured Keith Earls.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (captain), Keiran Read.
Replacements: Hikawera Elliot, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Sam Cane, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.
Just the one change to the All Blacks’ starting XV as Adam Thomson, a try scorer from the bench last Saturday, comes in for Victor Vito at blindside flanker.
7.56 – This may not make for pretty viewing but here are the highlights from the First Test.
YouTube credit: rugsta15
8.10 – It is predicted that temperatures will get down to -3 degrees so apologies for clunky, frozen fingered typos!
It’s a Maoti-Celto musical mash-up down on the pitch. After walking pass the horse urinals in the makeshift ‘media centre’ five minutes ago, I thought I had seen it all. Now … I’ve seen it all.
Well, nearly. It’d be good to witness Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time.
The rain has held off too JP. Let’s just hope the Irish back row can slow the ball down and we can stay in touch throughout the first half.
8.26 – Right, both teams are coming out onto the pitch at the AMI Stadium (Rugby League Park). The ground is very similar to the RDS, with two covered main stands and smaller, exposed stands behind the posts.
Remember, you can contact me @patmccarry on Twitter (or by leaving a comment) as the action unfolds.
National anthems and the Haka coming up.
8.34 – Dan Carter was clearly emotional during the national anthem. Richie McCaw pats him on the back at the end. Two Crusaders men.
8.36 – Haka was belted out – Piri Weepu showing his worth. These boys are up for it. On the negative side – long-sleeved jersey-wearing by Israel Dagg and Ali Williams. Wimps. Short sleeves all-round for the boys in green.
8.38 – Ireland penalised after only 80 seconds. Sean O’Brien pinged and New Zealand clear. Sonny Bill Williams with a knock on and it is an Irish scrum.
8.41 – Great defence from Conor Murray on Adam Thomson and Rob Kearney bundles Keiran Read over the line. Ireland throw.
8.45 – Murray scrambles well and Ireland get a penalty, which Sexton kicks to with 15 metres of the AB line. McLaughlin takes the line-out and Ireland press. Heaslip, Kearney and Healy all drive with the ball and Ireland get a penalty.
8.48 – Ireland kick their penalty to the corner. Line-out and Conor Murray scores a try! He dives over at the back of the ruck. Wonderful start. Sexton with the conversion attempt.
8.49 – Gets it. New Zealand 0-7 Ireland
8.51 – What a start! New Zealand coming back but Ireland defending well and O’Driscoll hacks clear.
8.53 – Steam rising off the scrums. Aaron Smith trying to coax a penalty out of Nigel Owens. Good grubber kick by Conrad Smith and Ireland have a line-out on their ’22.
A quick hello to Alistair Leahy following the stream from Dublin. I’ve run out of Vodafone credit Ali!
Ireland force another penalty, then another from New Zealand. McCaw is disgusted and Sexton might kick for goal. Going backwards here – what a brave and justified decision to kick for the corner rather than go for three points earlier.
8.57 – No problem from Jonny. Great penalty from 35 metres out on the right. New Zealand 0-10 Ireland.
9.00 – New Zealand get three back after Nigel Owens suspects hands were in the All Black ruck. Carter with no mistake from 30 metres out. New Zealand 3-10 Ireland. 22 minutes gone.
9.03 – Another Irish scrum and another free kick, then reset, for the All Blacks. Same problem as last week. Murray must not ruin his good start. Moments earlier McFadden dropped on but Savea knocked on.
9.05 – Sean O’Brien has clattered Dan Carter. Dagg then had a chance to set Savea free but his pass was wayward. McFadden then reacts quickly to clear up a Murray box-kick block-down. Savea then spills another high ball. Scrappy but Ireland won’t mind.
9.08 – It’s New Zealand 6-10 Ireland as Dan Tuohy is penalised for not rolling away after hauling McCaw down. Bad penalty to concede, right in front of the posts, and Carter slots over.
9.10 – Mike Ross the latest culprit to give away a penalty after entering an AB ruck from the side.
9.12 – New Zealand 9-10 Ireland as Dan Carter’s kick sneaks in by the left post. Kick not far enough by Sexton at the restart. Scrum New Zealand. Ireland need another energy surge.
9.16 – Sean O’Brien’s super work at the breakdown earns Ireland a penalty and Sexton kicks to gain an attacking line-out. The Leinster man then chips terribly into the hands of Dagg, who marks the ball and boots clear.
However, Ireland come back with it. Murray is much improved and keeps his side ticking over. Penalty though for not releasing but the ABs don’t find touch.
9.18 – Oh no – Carter has a chance to put his side ahead. Jamie Heaslip was excellent in stealing New Zealand ball at the ruck but Fergus McFadden was pinged for going off his feet in the ruck as Cian Healy attacked.
9.21 – Carter’s kick from the halfway line drops short, Rob Kearney touches down and Owens blows for half-time. Ireland lead.
Half-time: New Zealand 9-10 Ireland
9.26 – Ireland deserve to go in ahead. Nigel Owens is favouring the attacking team, mostly, at the breakdown so it remains to be seen if the Irish can cut out the penalty concessions. Some great work from the Irish back row so far. Conor Murray has been much quicker with his passing.
9.30 – Back underway. Wish ‘em luck!
9.31 – Sam Cane on for his debut as Read comes off.
9.32 – TMO for NZ!
9.35 – Sonny Bill Williams gets past O’Driscoll but Ireland stop them, for now. Aaron Smith then picks and dives over under a huddle of bodies. Try is given. Carter with the conversion – New Zealand 16-10 Ireland – he gets it.
9.37 – Chance to get motoring again as Thomson is called for an offside as he lies injured. Sexton with a simple task and he ignores the boos to slot it over. New Zealand 16-13 Ireland
9.40 – Richie McCaw so so lucky to escape a yellow card (we’ve heard this before) as he leaves O’Driscoll then D’Arcy in a heap.
Israel Dagg wins the kicking battle with Andrew Trimble and its advantage New Zealand. O’Driscoll had earlier knocked on as he tried to gather on the charge, following a great gallop forward by Cian Healy.
9.47 – Dan Tuohy has gotten into about three on-field arguments. McCaw knocks on and O’Gara is on for a limping D’Arcy. Sexton will move to inside centre. 52 minutes gone.
To answer an earlier question from ‘Limofax’, Christchurch as a city (following the 2011 earthquakes) is in a state. A lot of fighting spirit from the locals but it will be 10 years at least before the city is properly functioning.
9.53 – Heaslip and Healy immense in attack. Ireland camped in the New Zealand half but Sexton can’t offload in the tackle and the ball is turned over. Carter clears. Treatment for Donnacha Ryan.
9.58 – Carter misses with a drop goal attempt and the home fans his at him in response. Nearly another barney on the field as New Zealand are awarded a penalty. Owens talks to the captains.
10.00 – Carter wisely opts to go for three and gets it from 22 metres out – New Zealand 19-13 Ireland and 18 minutes to go.
10.03 – New Zealand 19-16 Ireland thanks to a great forward shunt at the scrum. Sexton adds the three. Reddan on for Murray.
10.06 – Sexton scorches forward but finds he has overrun his teammates so grubber kicks into touch. All Black line-out 10 metres from their tryline. 14 minutes left.
10.08 – Revenge for O’Driscoll as he ghosts past SB Williams. Penalty for Ireland as Ali Williams comes in from the side. He pushes O’Brien in the face and Sexton’s kick gets 10 metres easier.
10.10 – Gets it from 20 metres. New Zealand 19-19 Ireland and 10 minutes to go. Ireland scrum on their 10 metre line.
It’s the Irish fans in great voice as the Irish scrum powers forward. Peter O’Mahony has been excellent since replacing McLaughlin. 8 minutes to go.
10.14 – Israel Dagg yellow-carded for a head high, late hit on Kearney. All Blacks down to 14 men and Sexton with a kick from the halfway line. Woah!
10.15 – Drops short but Ireland have the man advantage. Big six minutes. They’ll never have a better chance.
10.16 – Mike Ross harshly judged to have knocked on. NZ scrum.
10.19 – ll Blacks with the ball. They’re not going to be happy with a draw either. Ireland have to be patient. CONTROLLED ABANDON!
10.20 – Carter gets a woeful feed and misses with a drop goal attempt! A minute left.
10.22 – Carter lands a drop goal. Secoind time unlucky for Ireland. New Zealand 22-19 Ireland
10.24 – Game over – not enough time to get the ball back and Conrad Smith boots the ball out of play.
10.38 – I haven’t seen that replay of the Ross knock-on but it looked really harsh from where I was sitting. That turned the tide. O’Driscoll spoke at the end of putting pride back in the jersey. The Irish lads have certainly done that.
10.39 – Whizz on that anyway. Stay with us over the day for comments, quotes, reaction and analysis. Cheers for keeping me company. Over and out from Christchurch. The wait goes on.