All Blacks too good for Irish
THE All Blacks booked a semifinal berth with England after obliterating a disappointing Irish unit in Tokyo last night, sending out Irish hooking legend Rory Best and groundbreaking coach Joe Schmidt on a disappointing note.
Steve Hansen will now renew his sparring with England coaching counterpart Eddie Jones as the two form sides of this World Cup go head to head in Yokohama next weekend after the seven-try hiding handed out in Tokyo.
A try double from Aaron Smith and one from Beauden Barrett steered the All Blacks to a 22-point lead at half-time.
Second-half tries to Cody Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett rounded out New Zealand’s scoring, while Robbie Henshaw clawed one back for Ireland — who also had a penalty try awarded to them.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read commended the Ireland effort, but it’s fair to say the northern side, such a force in recent years — and the topranked rugby side earlier in 2018 — has failed to front in Japan.
“We knew the start was going to be important and we did that really well, getting some points on the board early which helped,” Read said. “It was a heck of a Test match — it was really tough out there.”
Schmidt, a Kiwi, guided Ireland to their historic first win over New Zealand in 2016 and repeated the effort in 2018.
Hansen farewelled both Schmidt and Best as he accepted post-match tributes.
“Rory and Joe changed Ireland into a team that earlier in the year had been No. 1 in the world. Well done to them — they’ve done a marvellous job for Ireland,” he said.
New Zealand's Aaron Smith.