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New Zealand beat Ireland

Rugby World Cup 2023 | Match Centre | Ireland 24:28 New Zealand

Ireland’s World Cup Journey Ends in Heartbreak Against New Zealand for the Second Time

Ireland’s dreams of World Cup glory were dashed once again by New Zealand, marking the second consecutive tournament where the All Blacks proved too formidable. In a highly anticipated showdown in Paris, New Zealand emerged victorious, securing a spot in the semi-finals against Argentina.

Ireland entered the competition as the world’s top-ranked team, and expectations were high for them to reach the semi-finals for the first time. However, Andy Farrell’s squad faced their quarter-final jinx against the relentless All Blacks, extending their agonizing streak of knock-out defeats.

The defeat brought a poignant end to the illustrious career of Ireland’s captain, Johnny Sexton. The veteran player displayed his desolation at full-time as the realization of yet another quarter-final loss sunk in.

New Zealand, on the other hand, remained on track for a fourth World Cup title. They showcased their dominance with tries from Leicester Fainga’anuku, Ardie Savea, and Will Jordan, setting the stage for a semi-final clash with the Pumas at Stade de France.

Ireland managed to score tries through their New Zealand-born players, Bundee Aki and Jamison Gibson-Park, as well as a penalty try. Despite the fervent support of the Irish fans among the 78,845-strong crowd, there was no dramatic late comeback.

New Zealand had two players, Aaron Smith and Codie Taylor, yellow-carded during the match. Yet, Ian Foster’s side exhibited remarkable resilience, seeking redemption after their loss to the Irish in last year’s Test series on home soil.

This encounter added another chapter to the fierce rivalry between these two teams. While Ireland pushed for a match-winning try until the very end, it was the New Zealand players who celebrated at full-time, having demonstrated a herculean defensive effort, while their Irish counterparts collapsed in devastation.

The loss marked the end of Ireland’s impressive 17-match winning streak and their hopes of achieving a Six Nations Grand Slam and World Cup double, akin to England’s feat in 2003.

The All Blacks, on the other hand, brimmed with confidence as they advanced to a semi-final showdown against Argentina. The southern hemisphere teams, New Zealand and Argentina, completed a remarkable double on this eventful day, underscoring the intensity and excitement that surrounds World Cup knockout matches.

In stark contrast to the 2019 World Cup quarter-final, Ireland was considered pre-match favorites, fueling the anticipation for this contest. For New Zealand, this was a golden opportunity to both avenge their previous defeat to Ireland and to rekindle the aura and intimidation factor of the All Blacks jersey.

The All Blacks surged ahead with early penalties from Richie Mo’unga and Jordie Barrett. While Ireland had been in commanding form against Scotland in the previous week, they struggled to build momentum, allowing New Zealand to extend their lead with a try from Fainga’anuku.

Despite a heroic effort from Bundee Aki, who had been a standout player for Ireland, New Zealand responded with another try from Savea. However, the momentum swung in Ireland’s favor when Aaron Smith received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.

As the first half neared its conclusion, Gibson-Park’s superb finish hinted at a possible Irish resurgence. New Zealand returned with a vengeance in the second half, with Jordan scoring after a scintillating burst by Mo’unga.

Although Sexton missed a crucial penalty, Ireland was given a lifeline when Taylor disrupted an Irish maul, leading to a penalty try that narrowed New Zealand’s lead. Jordie Barrett’s long-range kick extended New Zealand’s advantage, and his crucial intervention prevented Ireland from scoring a late try.

Ireland launched a final, desperate assault, but New Zealand’s unwavering defense withstood 37 phases of pressure, sealing a historic win and consigning Johnny Sexton and his Irish teammates to an excruciating eighth quarter-final defeat.

Match Summary

Quarter-Final 2 |Ireland 24:28 New Zealand

Ireland Scores:

TRIES Bundee Aki (27′), Jamison Gibson-Park (39′)
CONV Johnny Sexton (29′, 40′)
PENS Johnny Sexton (22′)

New Zealand Scores:

TRIES Leicester Fainga’anuku (19′), Ardie Savea (33′), Will Jordan (53′)
CONV Richie Mo’unga (21′), Jordie Barrett (54′)
PENS Richie Mo’unga (8′), Jordie Barrett (14′, 69′)
Stade de France, Saint-Denis


Wayne Barnes

Man of the Match:

Ardie Savea (New Zealand)


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