New Zealand v Ireland: first rugby union Test – live!

Yellow card for New Zealand! Tuinukuafe

Conor Murray is sent tumbling to the deck with Ireland in possession as the replacement, Tuinukuafe, tries to lift himself off the turf after making a tackle. The referee shows him a yellow card as Murray was about to gather the ball and try and keep an attack going.

Try! 76 min: New Zealand 42-19 Ireland (Aki)

The New Zealand-born Aki bundles over with his trademark power and that’s a little more respectability on the scoreboard for Andy Farrell’s men. Carbery adds the extras with a simple kick.

75 min: Into the final five minutes and Ireland have another bash. In fact they get over the try-line with Andrew Porter but it’s held up by Sam Whitelock and, I think, Savea.

Try! 70 min: New Zealand 42-12 Ireland (Sowakula)

Another scrum for New Zealand five metres out. They get the shove on, and Pita Gus Sowakula, on debut, whips the ball from the base and ghosts under the posts and over the line. The celebrations are riotous as the All Blacks mark a first Test try for Sowakula, who according to the Sky Sports commentators is a former basketball player. It’s difficult to decide if this scoreline is a fair reflection of the match. I guess it doesn’t lie, but it also doesn’t tell the story of how well Ireland started off.

67 min: Changes for Ireland: Kieran Treadwell on for Tadhg Beirne and Dave Heffernan for Dan Sheehan. Having said that, Heffernan has gone straight back off, it looks like with an injury.

We’ve reached that very flat stage of the match where there is no rhythm, no fluency, just lots of replacements, referees’ whistles and very large men standing around doing not very much. New Zealand have an attacking scrum.

You’ve made a comment or two about the TMO’s decisions, but did you say where the TMO is from ?” asks Peter.

Fair point, I didn’t mention that as yet – the TMO is from South Africa:

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU), Assistant Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU), Assistant Referee: Jordan Way (RA), TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU)

62 min: You can only imagine how it must feel for these Ireland players, who have given absolutely everything, and yet find themselves nearly 20 points down, and with nearly 20 minutes still to play. I fancy there will be a couple more All Blacks tries at least.

61 min: Taavao-Matau has come on for New Zealand. Earls and Doris have gone off for Ireland, with Bundee Aki and Jack Conan coming on.

58 min: Ireland keep coming and they work their way right under the posts. O’Mahony offers up a lovely pop pass to Van der Flier, who looks to have dived over. Ioane is on hand to smack the ball out of Van der Flier’s hand, though, and it’s a New Zealand scrum five.

58 min: Ireland aren’t done yet and Carbery has a glimpse of the try-line as the visitors launch their latest attack. There is what looks a high tackle by the New Zealand No 13 Rieko Ioane – Carbery reaches for the line and the subsequent TMO check shows that he can’t quite touch it down. There is another TMO check for a dangerous tackle but the officials decide there is no yellow card or penalty try either.

Try! 53 min: New Zealand 35-12 Ireland (Savea)

This is a crazily pacy and powerful run by the All Blacks No 8. Henshaw tries in vain to bring him down as he chooses the outside and switches on the after-burners. He embarks on a damaging looping run around the tired Ireland defenders and has time to celebrate a little before touching down. That was the result of another excellent delivery by the NZ No 9 Smith, who is really growing into this game. Irish legs are tiring and the world-class qualities of Smith and the Barretts are shining through. The extras are added.

Ardie Savea steams in for another.
Ardie Savea steams in for another. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

49 min: The Ireland back row Van der Flier is holding his head. O’Mahony has a word with the ref, asking the TMO to check what looked a dangerous All Black entry to the previous ruck. As far as I can see there is no TMO check, and there is no action from the officials. Anyway, New Zealand have a scrum, five metres out, almost under the Irish posts. The prop Porter gives up a penalty at the scrum, but at the next engagement, Ireland win a free-kick.

48 min: New Zealand slip back into the groove following the concession of the try with some silky handling in midfield. Beauden Barrett kicks a penalty for the corner. Smith soon hoists a kick intended for Tupaea to the right but it’s too high and flies into touch.

Try! 43 min: New Zealand 28-12 Ireland (Ringrose)

A positive start for Ireland after a good driving maul and a snipe by Carbery for the right corner. They kick a penalty and win the lineout and Van der Flier nearly bashes to the line. The ball is moved left, with Gibson-Park doing well to keep things moving. Lowe spins around and offloads to Ringrose, who finishes brilliantly in the corner!

Carbery nails a stunning conversion from out wide.

42 min: “New Zealand are clearly the better team in this game but it is interesting how their knock-ons all seem to defy the laws of physics and go backwards,” emails Frank. Yes, I agree, the Smith one looked like a knock-on.

Second half kick-off!

Here we go.

Watching with my newborn and explaining to him how this is typical Ireland – Sexton goes off and we fall apart,” emails Michael Keane. “Also asking him if he fancies being reserve out half at the World Cup next year and Ireland still haven’t found one. What’s happened to Carbery? He’s been anonymous since coming on.”

Sexton has failed an HIA so we will not see him again today.

Half-time! New Zealand 28-5 Ireland

A fantastic start by Ireland but that feels like a distant memory now after a four-try flurry from New Zealand, who have built what looks to be an unassailable lead now. Johnny Sexton has also gone off injured. If Ireland can start the second half like they started the first, though, there could still be a game on in the second half. See you in a few minutes for more.

A bit of half-time reading for you:

Try! 38 min: New Zealand 28-5 Ireland (Savea)

This has been a first half of two halves, and then some. It’s all fallen apart for Ireland in the past 20 minutes. Smith kicks ahead after a sniping run through a tired-looking defence. He can’t gather the ball himself but manages to bat the ball to the right – a couple of Ireland defenders rush past the bouncing ball, and Savea flops on it to score. The TMO checks it and says Smith clearly plays the ball backwards, so it’s no knock-on, but I’m not entirely sure that is right … Regardless the try stands.

A clear sight of the line for Ardie Savea and the All Blacks.
A clear sight of the line for Ardie Savea and the All Blacks. Photograph: Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Try! 34 min: New Zealand 21-5 Ireland (Tupaea)

The front-rower Bower crunches into contact around the Irish 22 and Barrett then kicks for the corner. Ireland win the lineout but then lose the ball when Gibson-Park is turned over while attempting an ambitious counterattack. Ireland’s defence isn’t set, Beauden Barrett nudges a nice grubber kick towards the posts, and Tupaea calmly waits for it to bobble up before gathering and touching down. The TMO checks for offside but it’s all good.

Was that bravery or stupidity by Gibson-Park?

Quinn Tupaea after scoring.
Quinn Tupaea after scoring. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Try! 30 min: New Zealand 14-5 Ireland (Reece)

Ireland attack down their left flank. Ringrose fumbles a pass. Lowe slips over at the same time. Sevu Reece expertly nabs the bouncing ball and sprints almost the entire length of the field to score under the posts. O’Mahony gamely gives chase, among others, but there is no catching him. After a hugely accomplished start, a couple of moments of carelessness have let the hosts back in.

Meanwhile Sexton has gone off, it looked to me like a bang to the head from the leg of Cane, an accidental one, after Sexton slipped before contact. Carbery is on at fly-half. Another blow for Ireland.

Sevu Reece dives in to score.
Sevu Reece dives in to score. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

29 min: The All Blacks, who have looked jumpy while under pressure, fluff up a lineout in their own half and Ireland have front-foot ball again.

26 min: Ireland have played most of the rugby but find themselves behind … Sexton will be annoyed he missed that conversion and that’s putting it lightly. It’s the difference between parity and the slender deficit that Ireland now face.

Anyway, Farrell’s side continue to ask questions in attack, with James Lowe trying to get on the end of a kick ahead on the edge of the All Blacks 22.

Try! 21 min: New Zealand 7-5 Ireland (Barrett)

The hosts attack fluidly down the right, then down the left, and Barrett flops over thanks to a clever pass back inside after the debutant Fainga’anuku nearly forces his way to the line. Barrett nails the kick for the extras.

The All Blacks get on the scoreboard to go ahead.
The All Blacks get on the scoreboard to go ahead. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

19 min: New Zealand enjoy a bit of front-foot ball and move towards the Ireland 22. That’s serves as a reminder that since the first couple of minutes, it’s been all Ireland. Just before that Sexton tried a brave chip and chase in the Ireland half. Farrell wanted to see courage, he is most definitely seeing that.

17 min: A great start indeed, but only a start for the moment.

@LukeMcLaughlin great start by Ireland. The All Blacks in Eden Park is probably the toughest place to win in world sport. This is what this group of boys in green want, to be in the lions den & show they can slay the beast!

— John McEnerney (@MackerOnTheMed) July 2, 2022

15 min: New Zealand win a scrum penalty in the Irish half. A welcome plus point. From the next lineout Ireland snatch the ball back. Sexton kicks ahead and Keenan very, very nearly offloads to Gibson-Park who may have had a clear run to the line. Insead it’s snaffled by the full-back Jordie Barrett who reads it wonderfully. And it would have been a yellow card for the All Black had he dropped that one after juggling it …

11 min: Jordie Barrett launches a sniping run from deep on the hosts’ left. He’s brought down, and Peter O’Mahony snatches the ball out of the ruck, making the New Zealand No 9 Smith look a little silly. O’Mahony kicks ahead and Earls is nearly on to it, but is bundled into touch inside the home 22. It’s all coming up Ireland right now, due to the industrious way Andy Farrell’s men have started the match.

10 min: A crunching hit by Ringrose on Cane forces a knock-on and a scrum for Ireland around halfway. New Zealand are going backwards on the field and they are behind on the scoreboard. There are some visibly concerned faces among the All Blacks’ team. If they thought this was going to be an ‘easy’ night, or at least straightforward, they can think again.

Try! 7 min: New Zealand 0-5 Ireland (Earls)

Ireland win a slightly fortunate penalty for offside. That gives them a chance to move into the All Blacks’ half for the first time. And they mount an excellent attack, moving through multiple phases and stretching the home defence, with Gibson-Park prompting from the base. Sheehan and Keenan go close to getting over as Ireland edge closer to the line, showing top-class control and continuity. The ball is is shipped right thanks to a very good pass under pressure by Keenan … Earls has a sniff of the line and does superbly to bash through a tackle and score! What a start for Ireland! Sexton can’t get the kick right, and it’s a shame only to score five points for such an accomplished attack from the visitors’ first real possession, but Ireland will take it.

Keith Earls opens the scoring.
Keith Earls opens the scoring. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images

2 min: A lengthy spell of kick tennis ensues. Hugo Keenan initially miscontrols a ball in the Ireland 22, but manages to tidy up and give it to Sexton. New Zealand run it from this next possession. Sheehan very nearly affects a turnover but is rucked off the ball, just. A low kick to the corner and it’s Ireland’s lineout five metres from their line.

First-half kick-off!

Beauden Barrett kicks off! He sends the kick down the middle. Ireland have a put-in at the first scrum …

Ireland have 12 defeats from 12 in all their Tests in New Zealand up to this point.

Here comes the Haka.

Don’t forget, you can email me or tweet with any thoughts on the match.

New Zealand players perform the haka.
New Zealand players perform the haka. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The teams are on the pitch, it’s time for the anthems, and kick-off is under five minutes away.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than Eden Park on a dry evening,” the Ireland head coach Andy Farrell tells Sky Sports. “We know the challenge in front of us but we’re excited at the time …

“I want to see some courage. I want to see us being ourselves from the word ‘Go’.”

Michael Aylwin

Michael Aylwin

In the perennial struggle between domestic sport and international, more exquisitely poised in rugby than anywhere else, this weekend marks the opening of the latest window for the international game to set out its stall. The merchants mean business, too, if the strength of the teams announced, so often depleted at this time of year, is anything to go by.


Ireland’s Finlay Bealham has tested positive for Covid so Cian Healy comes into the 22. For New Zealand there are a couple of debutants: Leicester Fainga’anuku is on the wing, and the Chiefs No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula is on the bench.

New Zealand: J. Barrett, Reece, R. Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga’anuku, B. Barrett, Smith, Bower, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi, Retallick, Whitelock, S. Barrett, Cane, Savea. Replacements: Taukeiaho, Tuinukuafe, Taavao-Matau, Sowakula, Papali’i, Christie, Mo’unga, Ennor.

Ireland: Keenan, Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, Gibson-Park, Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris. Replacements: Heffernan, Healy, O’Toole, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Aki.

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU)


Ireland waited a long time to beat New Zealand: 111 years, to be precise. Since they finally achieved the feat in Chicago in 2018, the floodgates have opened, and Ireland now have three victories against the All Blacks on the books, most recently in November 2021.

However, they are still yet to defeat New Zealand in New Zealand. What would it mean for Andy Farrell’s side to do so in the next few weeks? Everything and nothing, but mainly everything, both as a milestone on their journey to next year’s World Cup, and in itself as one of rugby union’s great achievements.

Like Wimbledon and the Tour de France, Covid has not left this event untouched, with a number of players and coaches sidelined. The former Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt, has even been drafted in as a stand-in by New Zealand to lend a hand.

With England in Australia and Wales in South Africa it’s the start of a bumper summer of rugby, but this one could be the best of the lot.

Kick-off: 8.05am BST.


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