Magnificent Ireland claim historic win over All Blacks


Ireland ended their 111-year wait for a first victory over New Zealand by bringing the world champions' record winning streak to a juddering halt with a sensational 40-29 victory at Soldier Field on Saturday.

The All Blacks became the first tier-one nation to win 18 consecutive Tests with a triumph over Australia last month, but their incredible sequence of victories was gone with the wind in Chicago.

Ireland came agonisingly close to claiming a first success against the world champions three years ago, surrendering a 19-point advantage to suffer a dramatic defeat right at the end.

New Zealand fought back from 30-8 down early in the second half to trail 33-29 this time around, but Ireland were not to be denied in a city still celebrating a first World Series triumph in over a century for the Chicago Cubs this week.

Joe Schmidt's side were outstanding against the country of his birth, beating the world champions at their own game as they took a 25-8 half-time lead with tries from Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander and Conor Murray.

Simon Zebo added a fourth and Robbie Henshaw crashed over late on, ensuring scores from George Moala, TJ Perenara, Ben Smith and debutant Scott Barrett were in vain as New Zealand suffered their first defeat since going down to the Wallabies in August last year and their only loss to Ireland in 29 Tests.

The Ireland players formed a figure of eight out of respect for late Munster head coach Anthony Foley, who died suddenly in Paris last month, as the All Blacks gave another rousing rendition of the Haka.

Ireland were rewarded for a positive start when the returning Jonathan Sexton slotted over a penalty, but the All Blacks hit back and Moala picked up a loose ball to dot down after Waisake Naholo made an incisive break.

New Zealand lost Joe Moody to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Henshaw in a breathless start and Ireland took advantage of having the extra man, with Murphy going over when the world champions were pushed back by a drive that gathered momentum.

Sexton converted expertly from the right touchline and Stander barged over for a second Ireland try after Rob Kearney made the break before Beauden Barrett reduced the deficit to seven points with a penalty.

Ireland fly-half Sexton responded with another three-pointer to put the underdogs 18-8 to the good, which was preceded by a long stoppage for treatment to Ryan Crotty and Murphy - who were both unable to continue.

Schmidt's men were rampant with the backing of a raucous crowd and things went from bad to worse for the All Blacks when scrum-half Murray sold a clever dummy to race away for a third try, which Sexton converted to put his side 25-8 up at half-time.

Ireland strengthened their grip on the Test when Zebo was left with a simple finish following another powerful drive, but New Zealand rallied and replacement scrum-half Perenara applied the finish after a break from Dane Coles.

Smith added a third try in the corner and Barrett was successful from the tee on both occasions to make it 30-22, but Murray held his nerve to put Ireland 11 points up with a penalty just before the hour-mark.

The momentum was firmly with the best side in the world, though, and Scott Barrett, on for his debut early in the second half, charged through for a debut try which his brother converted to cut Ireland's advantage to 33-29 after 64 minutes.

But Henshaw eased the nerves by powering his way over with time running out and Joey Carbery added the extras as Ireland wrapped up a remarkable victory over opponents they will face again in Dublin in a fortnight.