All Blacks defeat Ireland in rugby

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The All Blacks defeated Ireland 34 points to 23 in rugby union at Waikato Stadium in New Zealand. The Irish came close to recording its first ever win against the All Blacks, leading 16 points to eight at half time, but a late surge by the New Zealanders ensured a clean record was kept against them. The All Blacks performed the traditional Ka Mate haka as their pre-match tradition. The decision was made prior to the day of the test after members of the public complained about the cut-throat gesture in the Kapa o Pango haka, first performed at the Tri Nations in 2005.

Scoring quickly opened for the home side, with Doug Howlett getting a try in the first minute of the game. Luke McAlister missed the conversion. McAlister missed a penalty shot soon after. Ireland quickly responded, and Ronan O’Gara was able to put points on the board, and converted it to give Ireland the lead, 10 points to five, with play just past 10 minutes. O’Gara was successful with another two penalties, and Ireland went into the second half leading 16 points to eight.

In the second half, Mils Muliaina was able to give the All Blacks breathing space, scoring a try in the opening exchanges of the second half. Ireland responded with a try to Andrew Trimble that was also subsequently converted. McAlister landed two penalty goals for the All Blacks to put the team back in the game, with around 20 minutes remaining. A penalty goal to McAlister in the 71st minute put the All Blacks ahead, with just nine minutes remaining. A try to Troy Flavell ensured the All Blacks kept its record against Ireland intact. It was Richie McCaw's first test as the All Black captain, coach Graham Henry was impressed with the win, but described the effort as rusty. The sides will contest a second test next week.