Ireland stun All Blacks to lay down Rugby World Cup marker
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Ireland stun All Blacks to lay down Rugby World Cup marker

Ireland beat the All Blacks 16-9 at home for the first time on Saturday and laid a major marker for the Rugby World Cup next year.

The blockbuster matchup of the world's top two ranked side and 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.

Breakthrough: Ireland's Cian Healy runs with the ball during his side's stunning victory over New Zealand.

Breakthrough: Ireland's Cian Healy runs with the ball during his side's stunning victory over New Zealand.Credit:AP

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.

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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.

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Even after enduring a hugely physical first half that was exhausting to watch, Ireland had the wherewithal to perfectly execute a try-scoring move from a lineout near halfway.

Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton switched play to Bundee Aki running back to the short side and wing Jacob Stockdale chipped ahead.

He brushed past the surprised All Blacks, regathered and slid in from five metres 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.

No.8 CJ Stander hailed a huge defensive effort as Ireland claimed their first win over New Zealand on home soil.

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong is tackled by New Zealand's Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith (left).

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong is tackled by New Zealand's Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith (left).Credit:AP

"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."

Reuters

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