New Zealand v Ireland: third and deciding rugby union Test – live! | Rugby union

Key events:

Sean Fitzpatrick has just described this NZ performance as “a horror show” and he’s right, especially at lineout. But so much of that is down to Ireland, whose physicality and nous from last week has been paired with improved attacking timing, patterns and execution.

@bloodandmud NZ’s problems seem to be the forwards not being able to cope with the Irish’s. Their backs are lethal but they’re getting so pummelled up front that they’re completely on the back foot. (Cue 4 try’s in 10minutes)

— AndyinBrum 🌻 (@AndyinBrum) July 16, 2022

I’m not sure the backs are looking that lethal either, Andy. NZ were getting more joy when they were kicking – not a huge amount of joy but definitely more than in the last 15 minutes.

However, this is all moot as Ireland are simply a better rugby team physically and tactically at present, as they have been since the start of the game last week.

Half Time!

PEEEEEEEP! That’s the end of a very satisfying half if you’re Irish.

40+1 mins. In a moment that sums up much of the NZ first half, Codie Taylor can’t get his throw straight at the resulting lineout in the Ireland half.

39 mins. The New Zealand response to this is to start chucking it everywhere and losing whatever limited shape they have. This is not the way to go against this Ireland defence who are easily stopping it. But they are a little over-zealous and give away a penalty.

TRY! New Zealand 3 – 22 Ireland (Robbie Henshaw)

37 mins. Ireland go left from the scrum, and a lovely delayed pop from Sexton sends aki through a gap on the angle who then moves it left to Henshaw who has a free run to the line.

Sexton converts and Ireland are completely in charge.

35 mins. James Ryan nicks a New Zealand lineout, that’s two lost by the home side this half. This allows Keenan to put a testing kick on Jordan who takes it but is stopped dead by the chasing Hansen and on the next possession Tu’ungafasi knocks on.

Ireland scrum in middle of NZ 22 coming; a chance to turn the screw then smash it with a massive hammer before half-time.

33 mins. New Zealand are spraying it around with hand and boot, no doubt realising they are in a situation where this game could get away from them, but Ireland’s defence – Robbie Henshaw in particular – are putting themselves about all over the shop.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3 – 15 Ireland (Johnny Sexton)

31 mins. At a ruck soon after the restart, Beauden Barrett hammers into Porter to clear out illegally. Stupid stuff from the stand-off.

The tee is called for and depsite it being out left and approximately 45 metres out, Sexton nails it.

TRY! New Zealand 3 – 12 Ireland (Hugo Keenan)

29 mins. Ireland run a lovely, dynamic two-wave pattern towards the left touchline, Lowe being stopped by the defence before they reset and run two further patterns which finish with a miss-pass to Keenga who scores in the corner.

Sexton adds the two.

There really is no better team in the world than Ireland at setting and executing such repeated attacking patterns. Wonderful to watch.

26 mins. Momentum was building in the All Black attack, before Van Der Flier clamps onto Rieko Ioane to claim a ruck penalty. That’s a hugely important intervention to put the brake on a tricky period for Ireland.

25 mins. New Zealand’s kicking game is slowly getting on top of Ireland, the latest from Jordan pinning the visitors back before Sexton finds a poor touch to give possession to the All Blacks on the 22.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3 – 5 Ireland (Jordie Barrett)

23 mins. Ireland frustrate the NZ ruck, but Sexton doesn’t do it legally as he’s pinged for not rolling away. Barrett doesn’t miss this time.

It’s very tight, very even and very nerve wracking for all involved thus far.

20 mins. Dan Sheehan has two runs in the latest Ireland attack and on both his shows his outstanding feet in a small space, stepping tacklers and buying some metres. Possession is not very secure however and as NZ get it back David Havili punts a 50:22 and the All Blacks will have an go in the Irish 22.

Sam Cane is tackled by Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton and Jamison Gibson-Park. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

18 mins. James Lowe puts in a massive kick that is very nearly a 50:22. The result from the NZ lineout ends up the same however as the Ireland pack hold up the All Black maul after O’Mahony gets amongst it.

Ireland have repelled a busy few minutes from the home side and will have an attacking scrum platform.

16 mins. What is clear from the opening minutes is that the All Blacks’ plan is to carry close to the ruck then kick via Beauden Barrett. The latest one is a huge one on Keenan than Jordan is this close to claiming, but knocks it on.

14 mins. Finally, the ball is out and NZ are taking narrow carries up via the forwards sticking close to the ruck. Ireland are deliberately not committing too many player to the breakdown, and they stand so far off one the All Blacks end up knocking on due to their own momentum not being stopped.

12 mins. An NZ scrum, wide right on the Ireland 10m line, is taking an eon to complete.

MISSED PENALTY! New Zealand 0 – 5 Ireland (Jordie Barrett)

9 mins. Bundee Aki and Andrew Porter are both untidy at the ruck and are ruled to be off feet. It’s in front and not too far out so the tee comes on, but Barrett pushes it wide. That’s a horrible miss and NZ are still without points after a decent few minutes.

7 mins. It’s the All Blacks’ turn to have some ball around the half-way line. A few phases are contained by the Irish defence before Beauden Barrett sprays a kick crossfield towards Reece but Hansen disrupts it, albeit with a knock-on.

Another towering kick from Barrett is claimed for the mark by the dependable Hansen and Ireland can clear their lines.

TRY! New Zealand 0 – 5 Ireland (Josh Van Der Flier)

3 min. Sexton spurns a kickable penalty to put the ball in the corner. It’s claimed in the lineout, the drive is set up and walks over the line for Van Der Flier to flop over and open the scoring.

Three weeks on the bounce Ireland have had a marmalising start.

Sexton pulls the conversion left.

Josh van der Flier celebrates with teammate Tadhg Furlong.
Josh van der Flier celebrates with teammate Tadhg Furlong. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

2 mins. Ireland have the ball back from an Aaron Smith kick and straight away they look dynamic and powerful. Solid tests are getting over the gainline before Caelan Doris puts a lovely step in off his right foot to set them away up the left. Some offloading looks promising but the final pass from O’Mahony is to Beauden Barrett.

Similar opening pattern to last week from the the visitors.

Kick off!

1 min. Wayne Barnes gives us a loud blast, prompting Johnny Sexton to boot the ball the long and the decider is underway.

Aaron Smith has tears streaming down his face God Defend New Zealand rings around the stadium, in case you were wondering how much this game means to the home side. He wipes his face and leads the Haka.

Here come the teams.

Sexton, mouthguard sticking out of his mouth and the usual fuming expression on his phizog, leads the Ireland squad out followed by Sam Cane and the All Blacks to a cacophany of noise.

Springsteen song email!

“It’s not my favourite , but surely for this game it’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’?” asks David Parry.”

Tonight I’ll be on that hill ‘cause I can’t stop, I’ll be on that hill with everything I’ve got, With our lives on the line where dreams are found and lost, I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost for wanting things that can only be found, In the darkness on the edge of town

Yep, that works (and it’s one of my favourites)

Andy Farrell is chatting to Sky TV.

“We’re excited, this is where we want to be. We’ll get them at their best and that’s what we want, you want to test yourself against the best. We’re fit and ready don’t worry about that.”

Very late team news.

Scott Barrett is out of the All Black line-up after a flare up of a injury sustained earlier in the week. Akira Ioane is promoted to start at blind-side and Tupou Vaai moves onto the bench.

Reading while you wait

What does all these new losing experiences mean for New Zealand? Here’s Liam Napier with more on that.


Sam Whitelock, sorely missed last week, returns at lock for New Zealand in move that pushes Scott Barrett to the flank. David Havili is at inside-centre, Will Jordan is on the wing and RL convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is on the bench.

Andy Farrell makes only one change to the victorious starting XV with Bundee Aki in for the injured Gary Ringrose. Keith Earls is back among the subs.

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; George Bower, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Akira Ioane, Sam Cane (captain), Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Aidan Ross, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Tupou Vaai, Dalton Papalii, Folau Fakatava, Richie Mo’unga, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls.


Welcome one and all to the deciding test of the series in Wellington.

After last week’s first of victory in New Zealand, Ireland must find another never seen before moment vs their opponents today – a back to back win. Andy Farrell’s men may have bested four of the last seven matches between the teams after a century of being on the runny end of the result; but a WW in the results column still eludes them. And how New Zealand will be bristling with fury in their desire to prevent that from happening.

The curious thing in the previous two meetings is that, red cards aside, both teams have broadly put in a similar performance. Ireland busy and creative, making enough dents up front and with territorial kicking to make the All Blacks reel a bit. New Zealand fitful and a little disjointed, but with enough dog in their scramble defence and pizazz in broken play or on counter to frustrate and indeed take the game. In week one, the latter won out while Dunedin saw the former smother the home side. That and all those cards. So many cards.

It’s fascinating to consider what will emerge dominant today. Andy Farrell is under no illusion that “[New Zealand] will be hurting, we know that they bounce back unbelievably strong.”

Ructions incoming.