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Aviva Premiership: London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31

London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31: O'Shea slams error-strewn referee despite returning to Aviva Premiership summit

By
Gary Baker

PUBLISHED:

18:43 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 6 January 2013

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea launched a furious attack on the referee after his side returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership with this bonus-point win.

O’Shea accused official Llyr ApGeraint Roberts of a catalogue of errors, saying: ‘I’m unbelievably frustrated. You’d have to go a long way to see worse.

‘Everything was wrong – it was incredible. The offside line was irrelevant, trailing runners coming back was irrelevant, backing into the maul, not releasing in the tackle – all irrelevant.'

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

He added: ‘We were 21-6 up at
half-time but bafflingly, the penalty count was against us. How can that
be We have a feedback process for the referees but it’s not actioned
upon and it’s very difficult at times.’

It is the second time in a week,
following equally frustrated comments by Leicester’s Richard Cockerill
when giving his verdict on Andrew Small’s decisions in the Tigers’ 17-12
win over Gloucester, that a major club figure has questioned
officialdom.

O’Shea added: ‘This is just a bit of
moral support as well for Cockers last week. I am just mightily
frustrated. I have vented in the dressing room to the players.'

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot wasReliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins again vital to Quins

He continued: ‘Something has to be done. Not all of
these guys (refs) are full time. Let’s be fair – our jobs are on the
line every week and it is a strange position to say, “Well, they are not
full time but that’s fine”.’

Quins were great in the first half as
London Welsh seemed on course for a crushing defeat, and O’Shea was
happy with his players’ performance.

‘We played some magnificent running
in the first 45 minutes and that’s what we should be talking about – our
full back, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, dazzled people with his footwork,’
O’Shea said.

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

ENGLAND WATCH

Captain Chris Robshaw was firing on all cylinders.

He battered his way over for a try and was lucky not to find himself in the sin bin when he came in from the side at a ruck.

But he had a good game and came through unscathed.

Danny Care started brilliantly and darted through the smallest of gaps to score.

But he faded and was replaced by Karl Dickson.

England scrum-half Danny Care and
national skipper Chris Robshaw, plus centre George Lowe, got Quins
first-half tries, and the bonus point came after Nick Evans added a
fourth touchdown.

Wing Nick Scott and the boot of
stand-off Gordon Ross brought Welsh back from the dead and an Ed Jackson
intercept-try threatened a real shock.

But Quins hit back in the closing moments and nearly got another at the end, only a defiant defence halting them.

Welsh head coach Lyn Jones praised his team’s efforts, saying: ‘At half-time, we were staring down the barrel,’ he said,

‘We started the second half well, we
were still in there and we needed to get the first score, which we did.
We had a chance to win but their class and ability shone through in the
end.

‘They are a very good side and it’s a
pity more sides don’t play like them. We are showing determination and
spirit and are good enough to stay in this league.’

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Calf-injury victim Gavin Henson was
absent from the Welsh line-up, but Jones is optimistic that he will be
able to call upon his services soon.

‘I saw him last Saturday and he was due to train on Wednesday, but his leg wasn’t good enough,’ Jones said.

‘Hopefully, he will play as soon as possible, but it’s a calf injury and I don’t want my players to rush back.’

Manchester United want Chelsea"s Conor Hunte

United ready to pounce for Chelsea youngster Hunte after contract delay

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 28 November 2012

Chelsea’s teenage midfielder Conor Hunte is wanted by Manchester United.

The 16-year-old is yet to sign a professional contract at Stamford Bridge and has already attracted interest from Manchester City and Liverpool.

However, United are stepping up their efforts to sign the England U17 international. Chelsea, meanwhile, are watching Brazil international and Atletico Mineiro midfielder Bernard, 20.

Wanted man: Conor Hunte is a target for Manchester United

Wanted man: Conor Hunte is a target for Manchester United

Graeme McDowell suffers freak hand injury at HSBC Champions

I had an argument with a door… McDowell suffers freak injury at hotel in China

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 2 November 2012

Graeme McDowell's season looked to have reached a painful and premature end after the former US Open champion slammed his hand in a hotel door in China.

But the Ulsterman has revealed he still hopes to play in the third round of the HSBC Champions at Mission Hills despite suffering bad bruising in the accident. The Ryder Cup hero of Celtic Manor will undergo medical tests on Saturday to determine whether he can carry on.

McDowell played through the pain and completed his second round at the prestigious World Golf Championship event, but dropped out of contention after he could only shoot a 75, which left him well down the field at the halfway stage.

Ouch: Graeme McDowell tees off on the seventh hole at Mission Hills - with strapping clearly visible on his right hand

Ouch: McDowell tees off on the seventh hole at Mission Hills – with strapping clearly visible on his right hand

Later on Friday he tweeted: 'Busted up my hand a bit last night. Had an argument with a door. Nothing broken. Just bruised and swollen. I should be okay for tomorrow.'

McDowell's manager, Conor Ridge, had feared the Portrush man could be forced to sit out the remaining two rounds in Dongguan and, even worse, his final three tournaments of the year.

He is due to play in the World
Tour Championship – the European Tour's season-ending extravanganza in
Dubai where the money list winner will be crowned – the Australian
Masters and the World Challenge in California – Tiger Woods' tournament,
which McDowell won in 2010.

Out of contention: McDowell is well down the field after two rounds at the HSBC Champions

Out of contention: McDowell is well down the field after two rounds at the HSBC Champions

Out of contention: McDowell is well down the field after two rounds at the HSBC Champions

'He got it treated this morning. It was
obviously quite sore because he said it feels like it's broken,' said
Ridge. 'They've confirmed since that it's not broken, it's just bruised.

'He did it this morning before he left the hotel room, literally when he was on his way down here so we're going to see what it's like in the morning.'

Ridge added: 'He's not going to want to miss any of them (his last events). He's looking forward to going to Australia, he hasn't played there for a long time.

Can't catch me: Leader Louis Oosthuizen (left) chats with McDowell during the second round in China

Can't catch me: Leader Louis Oosthuizen (left) chats with McDowell during the second round in China

'He's certainly not winding down. He won't want to miss the last two rounds here either, let's be honest. Hopefully he's OK but knowing him he'd have to be pretty bad not to play.'

McDowell sits in 56th place at the HSBC Champions on two over par after adding to his opening round of 71, and sits fully 18 shots behind leader Louis Oosthuizen.

The 2010 Open champion is five shots in front of Adam Scott and Ernie Els on 16 under par after carding a course-record 63.

Keeping Nick Evans at Harlequins "boosts the English game", says Conor O"Shea

Keeping Evans at Harlequins 'boosts the English game', says purring O'Shea

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UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 1 November 2012

Delighted Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea acclaimed Nick Evans’s decision to sign a new three-year contract as a coup not just for his club, but for the English game.

The 32-year-old former All Black fly-half, who joined from Otago in 2008, had been considering a raft of offers from France and Japan but, having been an integral part of Quins’ Aviva Premiership triumph last season and as a Kiwi who has happily settled into London life, he chose to extend his stay.

Staying on English shores: Nick Evans has penned a three-year deal with Quins

Staying on English shores: Nick Evans has penned a three-year deal with Quins

The news is a major boost to the club as they attempt to defend their title and mount a strong assault on the Heineken Cup, but O’Shea suggested there was even wider significance.

‘There is not a player, supporter or coach in the game in England, let alone Harlequins, who will not be delighted that Nick Evans has agreed to stay,’ he said.

‘The Premiership wants the best players playing in it and Nick is one of the very best. He contributes so much to this club.

‘While I know one of the main reasons he is staying revolves around his family, ultimately it is about his ambition to achieve things with this club. His decision to stay is a great early Christmas present for all Harlequins fans.’

Evans, who has amassed 1,184 points in 106 Quins games, said: ‘My decision was made easy by the ambition of this great club, the success we have had and the hunger for more. I will do my best to help the club stay one of the major forces in English and European rugby.’

Aussie wing Cameron Shepherd will make his Sale debut tonight, with Mark Cueto switching to the right, as the Premiership’s bottom club end a turbulent week with a showdown against 11th-placed London Irish at Salford City Stadium. Richie Gray returns to the home pack, while Marland Yarde starts for the Exiles after injury. They also include Scott Lawson and Darren Allinson.

London Irish 28 Harlequins 31: match report

London Irish 28 Harlequins 31: Casson scrambles last-gasp victory for visitors

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UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 28 October 2012

A fortuitous last-minute try from Tom Casson gave defending Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins a remarkable victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Casson thought he had blown the opportunity in the last play of the game but the television match official ruled that what appeared to be a knock-on had in fact come off Casson's knee, making his subsequent grounding a legal one.

The defeat was harsh on the Exiles who matched Quins throughout and looked destined to claim a vital win behind Ian Humphreys' outstanding kicking display.

Last gasp: Tom Casson scores Harlequins winning try

Last gasp: Tom Casson scores Harlequins winning try

Tries from Danny Care and Tom Williams put Quins clear at 26-19 with just over 20 minutes remaining but back came the Exiles behind Humphreys' boot before Casson's late effort.

Coming into the game Harlequins had lost their last two Premiership encounters while Irish were on a run of three wins on the spin in all competitions, including a 39-17 mauling of high flyers Northampton.

But it was Conor O'Shea's troops who started the brighter and two Ben Botica penalties inside the first 10 minutes had them 6-0 to the good.

Despite Botica putting Quins on the front foot, as he continued to deputise superbly for the injured Nick Evans, it was Irish who scored the game's first try after 14 minutes.

Jamie Gibson expertly charged down Botica's attempted clearance and the ball ballooned up in the air to Guy Armitage over the try line and he simply had to fall over to score the game's first try and his first career Premiership try.

Party time: Harlequins celebrate their win over London Irish

Party time: Harlequins celebrate their win over London Irish

Humphreys slotted the conversion and Irish were in front at 7-6. That lead lasted all of two minutes however until the in-form Danny Care raced clear from halfway after Anthony Watson's hurried offload ricocheted into his hands, and after Botica converted it was 13-7 to the visitors.

The points kept coming in an exciting first half as Humphreys replied with two penalties of his own to level the contest up at 13-13.

Both fly-halves did not really look like missing and another penalty from each kicker meant the sides went in at the break all tied up at 16-16.

It was Irish who took the momentum into the interval though, after Harlequins full-back Brown was sent to the sin bin on the cusp of half-time for a deliberate knock-on.

Sore one: Chris Robshaw

Sore one: Chris Robshaw

After the break the visitors were a man down and without their skipper Chris Robshaw, who suffered a nasty cut above the eye, but they went back in front when Botica slotted a regulation penalty when the Exiles infringed at scrum time.

No sooner had Brown returned from his spell on the sidelines than Irish began to turn up the heat, turning over Ugo Monye from the kick-off and earning a penalty that Humphreys slotted to level it up again at 19-19.

Quins' effervescent backline had been kept largely quiet but after 52 minutes they sprung into action as Care, Botica and Matt Hopper combined to devastating effect to put Williams over in the right corner for the try of the match, Botica's conversion creeping over from the touchline.

The Exiles continued to respond in quick fashion and two Humphreys penalties made it 26-25 going into the last quarter of an hour.

And after Nick Easter was penalised in the 73rd minute Humphreys made no mistake to put the Exiles back in front against the defending champions.

Monye went perilously close in the right corner late on as Quins pushed for the final score, but it was left to Casson.

He may have appeared to knock on when he fell clumsily on a loose ball over the try-line but the TMO thought otherwise and Quins were saved.

Wasps 40 Harlequins 42: Quins launch title defence with stunning fightback

Wasps 40 Harlequins 42: Quins launch title defence with stunning fightback

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UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 1 September 2012

Harlequins showed the resolve of champions as they staged a sensational fightback to open the defence of their Aviva Premiership title with a scarcely believable victory over Wasps.

Conor O'Shea's men seemed dead and buried as the rejuvenated Wasps, who had only avoided relegation on the final day of last season, stormed into a 40-13 lead after 56 minutes.

Memorable: Harlequins celebrate their victory at Twickenham

Memorable: Harlequins celebrate their victory at Twickenham

Like Mike: Brown of Harlequins dives over for his second try

Like Mike: Brown of Harlequins dives over for his second try

Christian Wade did the early damage, scoring two blistering tries and providing another for Tom Varndell before forwards Marco Wentzel and Tim Payne touched down.

But man of the match Nick Evans, on his 100th Premiership appearance, scored 22 points to lead Harlequins on one of the great Premiership comebacks.

The reigning champions, back at the scene of their Premiership final victory over Leicester, scored four tries and 29 unanswered points in the final quarter of a compelling match.

Tom Guest came off the bench to launch the comeback, Evans set up two tries for Mike Brown and then touched down himself before wrapping up the victory with a penalty four minutes from time.

On the charge: Andrea Massi of London Wasps fends off Jordan Turner-Hall of Harlequins

On the charge: Andrea Massi of London Wasps fends off Jordan Turner-Hall of Harlequins

On the run: George Robson of Harlequins charges upfield

On the run: George Robson of Harlequins charges upfield

For all the drama on show, there was also a hefty dose of controversy as the introduction of new rules expanding the influence of the television match official (TMO) proved crucial.

Wasps thought they had scored through Varndell on the stroke of half-time but the try was chalked off after the TMO confirmed a forward pass early in the move.

Had this game been last season – or not broadcast live on ESPN – Varndell's try would have stood. The debate over the TMO's influence raged on.

Wasps players lay desolate on the turf at full-time. They had two bonus points but knew that, through some weak defence, they had blown a golden opportunity.

High jump: London Wasps' Marco Wentzel is tackled by Harlequins Danny Carer

High jump: London Wasps' Marco Wentzel is tackled by Harlequins Danny Carer

Holding on: London Wasps' Christian Wade tackled by Harlequins George Lowe

Holding on: London Wasps' Christian Wade tackled by Harlequins George Lowe

The performance of Dai Young's men for the first hour did at least indicate the horrors of last season do now lie behind them.

Harlequins like to play at pace but they could not live with Wasps' rugby. The dark days of March, April and May when the club were desperate to just grind out any kind of result to secure survival seemed long gone.

It took just three minutes for Wasps to fashion the first opening as Varndell released the electric-paced Wade to round Brown and score.

Robinson converted two penalties to extend the lead before the wing twins of Wade and Varndell combined again.

Hugo Southwell ran onto Elliot Daly's flat pass and released Wade, who again scorched past Brown and over the try-line, only to inexplicably pass to Varndell instead of touching down.

If Wade's decision caused brief palpitations in the Wasps coaching box, the mood will have been eased by Varndell touching down and Robinson converted to open that 20-0 lead.

High jump: Nick Easter of Harlequins wins a line-out

High jump: Nick Easter of Harlequins wins a line-out

The champions, who had barely had the ball, responded with a quick tap from Danny Care and Williams collected Robshaw's offload to score under the posts.

But Wasps were relentless. After a third Robinson penalty, Jonathan Poff forced the turnover and Wade produced an exceptional finish to score his second try.

In a moment reminiscent of Jason Robinson's try for the Lions in the first Test against Australia in 2001, Wade stood up his opposite number George Lowe and then scorched past him on the outside.

Evans reduced the arrears with two more penalties before Varndell streaked away on the stroke of half-time for what looked like Wasps' bonus-point try.

But the celebrations were cut short after referee Greg Garner utilised the trial rules and asked TMO Graham Hughes to rule on a suspected forward pass from Robinson early in the move.

The try was duly disallowed and for a while it seemed academic.

Seven minutes into the second half, Varndell pounced on a mistake from Mo Fa'asavalu and then flicked the ball in-field for Wentzel to gallop over from the 22m line.

Wentzel then turned provider, exchanging deft passes with Payne for the loose-head prop to crash over the line from close-range at the end of another dynamic attack. Wasps led 40-13.

With the game seemingly gone, Harlequins exploited some weak Wasps tackling to stage their late rally. Initially it seemed a try bonus and maybe a face-saving losing bonus point was the best they could hope for.

Guest came off the bench to score with his first touch before Brown showed some excellent hands to take a quick pass from Evans and dive over in the corner.

When Evans picked out Brown with a raking cross-field kick, the England full-back scored Harlequins' fourth try – but they were not finished yet.

Brown squeezed an offload to Guest and Evans took advantage of more poor defence to wriggle through two tackles and touch down for Harlequins' fifth try.

The conversion took Harlequins to within a point and Evans rounded off a remarkable comeback with his penalty four minutes from time.

Danny Care signs three-year contract extension at Harlequins

There's no other club for me! Boost for Quins as Care pens three-year contract extension

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 21 August 2012


Staying put: Car has signed a new deal at Quins

Staying put: Care has signed a new deal at Quins

England scrum-half Danny Care has agreed a three-year contract extension with Harlequins.

Care, who has made 116 appearances for the club, will now remain with the Aviva Premiership champions until 2016.

The gifted 25-year-old has won 33 caps for England and was named man of the match in the drawn third Test with South Africa in June, completing a timely reversal in fortunes.

Care had only just returned to the
international fold following a series of alcohol-related incidents that
threatened his Test future.

'For
Danny to commit to us for this length of time is news that everyone at
the club is delighted about,' Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea
said.

'I'm looking
forward to watching Danny's continuing development both on and off the
pitch over coming seasons and to seeing him become the player that we
all know he can be.'

The most damaging moment of a turbulent six months saw Care banned from driving for 16 months and fined 3,100 after being arrested for drink driving in the early hours of New Year's Day.

That incident resulted in his exclusion from England's RBS 6 Nations campaign by head coach Stuart Lancaster.

Care was also fined 10,000 by Harlequins, on top of the undisclosed fine he received following his first arrest in December for being drunk and disorderly in Weybridge.

Distractions: Care has put trouble off the pitch behind him

Distractions: Care has put trouble off the pitch behind him

However, the former Leeds player announced in May he had given up drinking to get his international career back on track and was rewarded against the Springboks in June, scoring a try in the third Test.

'There is no other club that I want to play for so I'm pleased to extend my contract with Harlequins,' Care said.

'I'm enjoying being part of a talented squad that is playing an attractive and successful style of rugby.

'Winning trophies is why we play professional rugby and having tasted some success in that regard, I would like more.'

Harlequins coach Mapletoft commits future with two-year extension to deal at champions

Harlequins coach Mapletoft commits future with two-year extension at champions

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UPDATED:

17:58 GMT, 17 July 2012

Harlequins backs coach Mark Mapletoft has committed his future to the Aviva Premiership champions by signing a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2015.

He joins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, head coach John Kingston, skills coach Collin Osbourne and forwards coach Tony Diprose in agreeing a new deal; the quartet all signed extensions earlier this year.

Forty-year-old Mapletoft, capped by England in 1997, represented Quins during his playing career, and returned to the club in 2010.

Staying put: Mapletoft (right) has signed an extension at Harlequins

Staying put: Mapletoft (right) has signed an extension at Harlequins

Having helped O'Shea's side to Premiership glory against Leicester at Twickenham in May, he is delighted to have extended his stay at the Stoop.

The former England Under 20 coach said: 'When Conor O'Shea offered me the opportunity to extend my stay with the club, it was a very easy decision.

'Harlequins is a fantastic environment to work in – supportive, challenging, fun and hugely rewarding to coach a large number of ambitious English players.

'Winning the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Aviva Premiership in successive seasons has given everyone involved with the club a boost, but we recognise that these successes are only a start.'

New Zealand 22 Ireland 19

New Zealand 22 Ireland 19: Heartbreak for Irish as Carter drop goal earns last-gasp win

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UPDATED:

09:58 GMT, 16 June 2012

A Dan Carter drop goal with 60 seconds left on the clock gave New Zealand a dramatic win over Ireland after a gripping encounter in the second Test in Christchurch.

The Irish led 10-9 at half-time, but an Aaron Smith try just after the break edged the All Blacks ahead.

Jonathan Sexton kept his side in touch with solid goal-kicking but Carter, a proud Crusaders player, had the last word.

Leaving it late: Dan Carter kicks a drop goal to secure victory for New Zealand over Ireland

Leaving it late: Dan Carter kicks a drop goal to secure victory for New Zealand over Ireland

The record books will state that Ireland have now lost 25 out of 26 fixtures against New Zealand. However, with Israel Dagg sin-binned for a bad tackle on Rob Kearney, they never had a better chance to get that much-needed victory.

The selection of scrum-half Conor Murray had been a bone of contention in Ireland between the first and second Tests, but a strong tackle on the marauding Adam Thomson showed his worth early on.

Murray then scrambled well to win possession and Sexton kicked an awarded penalty deep into the New Zealand 22.

Two attacking line-outs followed for the Irish as they set up camp in enemy territory.

Cian Healy and Kevin McLaughlin had darts at the All Black line before Murray picked from the base of a ruck and backed himself to touch down from two metres out.

Sexton added the extras and Ireland hit the front. It was just reward for a brave decision to kick for the line-out rather than go for three points.

Hard at work: Steam rises from a scrum as Ireland take on New Zealand in Christchurch

Hard at work: Steam rises from a scrum as Ireland take on New Zealand in Christchurch

New Zealand, through Conrad Smith and Zac Guildford, pushed forward but Ireland's defence was ferocious. Brian O'Driscoll hacked clear and Sean O'Brien caused trouble inside the All Black half, leading for a penalty concession. Sexton's kick from 35 metres sailed over.

Carter recorded the world champions' first points of the match when referee Nigel Owens suspected the Irish of placing illegal hands in the ruck.

Fergus McFadden was then lucky to survive a high ball spill when Julian Savea, his tormentor from last week, knocked on.

Sean O'Brien let Carter know he was around after 26 minutes when he clattered into him moments after the out-half spun a pass left.

The Crusaders man was not badly shaken and made it 10-6 three minutes later after Dan Tuohy was penalised for not rolling away from a tackle on Richie McCaw.

Irish loosehead Mike Ross was the next guilty man at the ruck as he needlessly entered from the side.

It gifted Carter a third simple penalty and his kick sneaked in by the left-hand post.

Not enough: Connor Murray goes over to score a try for Ireland in New Zealand

Not enough: Connor Murray goes over to score a try for Ireland in New Zealand

The All Blacks fancied getting in ahead at half-time, but excellent work at the breakdown by O'Brien won his side a penalty and gave the Irish an attacking line-out.

Sexton chipped possession, however, away and Carter was given the chance to put his team ahead on the stroke of half-time. McFadden was penalised for going off his feet at an attacking ruck, but Carter's kick from the halfway line dropped short and the score remained 10-9.

The All Blacks thundered into the Irish as the second half got under way and O'Driscoll was guilty of missing a tackle on Sonny Bill Williams on the right wing. A ruck ensued but Smith dived through a huddle of bodies for his first international try.

Carter added the conversion, but Ireland were awarded a penalty less than 60 seconds later as Thomson was adjudged offside. Sexton had the simple task of slotting a 20-metre penalty over.

McCaw was then lucky not to receive a yellow card after a short, destructive burst from the captain left O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy on the turf.

D'Arcy limped off soon after, to be replaced by Ronan O'Gara, and Sexton moved to inside centre.

The Leinster man peeled around the back of an attacking Irish ruck after 56 minutes, but he could not offload in the tackle to the supporting O'Driscoll and New Zealand turned the ball over to clear.

Out of my way: Sonny Bill Williams of the All Blacks tramples over Sean O'Brien of Ireland

Out of my way: Sonny Bill Williams of the All Blacks tramples over Sean O'Brien of Ireland

The burden of expectation of the home side was apparent as the game neared its final quarter when Carter was jeered for trying, and failing, with a drop goal.

He redeemed himself moments later with a penalty from 22 metres out after Owens penalised the visitors for not rolling away near their line.

Ireland were not deterred and they hit back immediately with a great forward shunt on the scrum to earn another kick at goal for Sexton, which he landed.

O'Driscoll got a measure of revenge on 67 minutes as he ghosted past Sonny Bill Williams.

The daring Irish attack was rewarded as Ali Williams came in from the side to gift the visitors a penalty

He then made Sexton's kick 10 metres easier after shoving O'Brien in the face. The Irish number 10 made it 19-19 with 11 minutes left on the clock.

Stop where you are: New Zealand's Dan Carter, with the ball, is tackled by Ireland's Sean O'Brien

Stop where you are: New Zealand's Dan Carter, with the ball, is tackled by Ireland's Sean O'Brien

The advantage swung to the men in green two minutes later as Dagg was yellow carded for a late, head-high hit on Kearney.

Sexton's penalty attempt from the halfway line dropped short, but the man advantage offered Ireland their best ever chance to break New Zealand's winning run.

A harshly adjudged knock-on call against Mike Ross gave the home side the chance to clear. The All Blacks were not content with getting a draw and they piled forward to give Carter a chance to kick a drop goal to clinch the game.

Carter's first effort was wide after he received a poor snap-pass, but the All Blacks remained composed. Their scrum was solid and Weepu dashed the ball back for Carter to try again.

The kick hardly soared, but it was enough to break Ireland hearts.

Stuart Lancaster appointed England head coach

Stu's the man! RFU appoint Lancaster as new England head coach after seeing off Mallett

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UPDATED:

09:09 GMT, 29 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster has been appointed England head coach after RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie put forward his name to the union board for final approval ahead of Nick Mallett.

The 42-year-old Cumbrian has had an anxious wait to learn his fate since having a formal interview for the post on Thursday last week, on the same day as his main rival.

But Sportsmail revealed this morning that Lancaster would get the job and now understands that the South African was informed this morning that he has not got the job.

The RFU are expected to confirm the announcement at a press conference this afternoon.

All smiles: Stuart Lancaster has been given the nod from the RFU to lead England

All smiles: Stuart Lancaster has been given the nod from the RFU to lead England

Out of leftfield: Lancaster was a relative unknown before the Six Nations

Out of leftfield: Lancaster was a relative unknown before the Six Nations

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On Monday, Ritchie and his four advisers — Sir Ian McGeechan, Rob Andrew, Conor O’Shea and Richard Hill — met for one final discussion before settling on their recommendation.

Sportsmail has learned that there was
due to be a gathering of the RFU board on Wednesday night and Ritchie had decided to propose that Lancaster is appointed
as the long-term successor to Martin Johnson. An announcement is likely to be made either
on Thursday or Friday.

Altogether now: Stuart Lancaster (second right) looks set for the job

Altogether now: Lancaster will now lead England full-time after his caretaker role

Lancaster bomber…

Stuart Lancaster has an impressive record since taking charge of England as caretaker manager:

Played 5
Won 4
Lost 1

February 4: Scotland 6 England 13

February 11: Italy 15 England 19

February 25: England 12 Wales 19

March 11: France 22 England 24

March 17: England 30 Ireland 9

Confirmation of his appointment would represent a startling coup for Lancaster, who was named as the interim head coach for the Six Nations in December, in the aftermath of Johnson’s resignation following the World Cup debacle.

The ex-schoolteacher has presided over a fundamental overhaul of the England set-up which culminated in a heartening second-place finish in the championship, behind Grand Slam winners Wales.

Fresh blood: Owen Farrell (right) has been one of Lancaster's success stories

Fresh blood: Owen Farrell (right) has been one of Lancaster's success stories

The remarkable rise of Lancaster

1969: Born October 9 in Penrith, Cumbria.

1992: Makes his debut for Leeds, where he became a regular fixture in the side. Lancaster was Leeds' regular flanker and captain until 2000.

2000: Retires from rugby after playing at Headingley for eight years after becoming the first Leeds player to play a century of games since the amalgamation of Headingley and Roundhay.

2001: Appointed head of the Leeds RFU Academy, a position which he held for five years.

2006: Became the director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie and led them to promotion back to the Premiership following a title-winning season in 2006-07.

2008: Appointed the head of the Rugby Football Union's elite player development in March, helping to bring through a number of exciting talents including England scrum-half Danny Care.

2010: Becomes manager of the England Saxons.

2011: Wins the Churchill Cup with Saxons.
December 8- Announced Lancaster would head up an interim England coaching team, also including Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, for the Six Nations.
December 11 – Names an elite player squad featuring nine uncapped players and 13 changes from the World Cup campaign.

2012: January 25 – Announces his intention to apply for the job on a permanent basis.
January 30- Names Chris Robshaw as captain in their Six Nations opener against Scotland.
February 4 – England beat Scotland 13-6 in Lancaster's first match in charge.
March 17 – England finish second in the Six Nations behind Wales.
March 29 – Lancaster is appointed England head coach.

Far from being content to conduct a holding operation, Lancaster set about a clean-up operation to repair the damage done to the game’s image by the controversies out in New Zealand last year.

Having freshened up the squad by removing veterans such as Nick Easter and Mark Cueto, and bringing in a raft of rookies headed by the goal-kicking Saracens tyro, Owen Farrell, the former Leeds coach made a strong disciplinary stand by banishing Danny Care and Delon Armitage following off-field incidents.

With the stated aim of re-connecting
the England team with the rugby public and restoring ‘pride in the
shirt’, Lancaster brought in various guest speakers during a pre-Six
Nations training camp, which was held in Leeds to take the players away
from the comfort zone of their luxury base in Surrey. He maintained the
cultural shift by asking his squad to coach youngsters and engage more
openly and readily with sponsors and media.

Yet, he would not be on the brink of
taking charge of the national team on a long-term basis if he had not
engineered on-field success too. On Lancaster’s watch, England started
the championship with tense wins away from home against Scotland and
Italy.

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England manager's position

Luke Benedict

They did not show much by way of attacking craft in difficult
conditions at Murrayfield and in Rome, but they showed ample character.

Gradually, in the narrow defeat against Wales followed by stunning
victories in Paris and against Ireland at Twickenham, Lancaster’s
England displayed a variety of methods for winning Tests.

Of course, a fair share of credit for
the strides made by the team rightly went to the assistant coaches,
Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell.

Team: Lancaster hopes to work with Graham Rowntree (left) and Andy Farrell

Team: Lancaster hopes to work with Graham Rowntree (left) and Andy Farrell

Rowntree, who had expanded his remit
by taking overall charge of the forwards, is thought to be on an
open-ended contract with the RFU and is keen to maintain his involvement
with England.

In Farrell’s case, he has gone back to his day-job as
head coach of Saracens.

The Aviva Premiership champions have him on a
contract for at least two more years and are determined to keep hold of
him, but Lancaster is equally determined to keep Farrell in the national
set-up, now he has seen him thriving in that environment.

It would seem
certain that the RFU will have to pay the club significant compensation
if they are to secure his release.