New Zealand 42 Ireland 10: All Blacks blow tourists away with Savea's hat-trick debut
10:54 GMT, 9 June 2012
Debutant winger Julian Savea scored a hat-trick to inspire New Zealand to an impressive win over Ireland at Eden Park.
The Irish had no answer for the pace and power of world champions' backline and the Hurricanes winger ran in three tries inside the first 43 minutes of his first international outing.
The running lines and swift incisions of Israel Dagg, Conrad Smith and Savea caused Ireland problems throughout and coach Declan Kidney will need to come up with a way of negating the dangerous New Zealand backs if Ireland are to avoid a series sweep.
Going over: Julian Savea Blacks runs in to score his first try for the All Blacks
New Zealand: Dagg, Guildford, C Smith,
S Williams, Savea, Carter, A Smith, Woodcock, Hore, O. Franks, Retallick, S Whitelock, Vito, McCaw, Read. Replacements: Elliot, B. Franks, A. Williams, Thomson, Weepu, Cruden, B. Smith.
Tries: Savea (3), Thomson, C Smith
Conversions: Carter (4)
Penalties: Carter (3)
Ireland: Kearney, McFadden, O'Driscoll, Earls, Zebo, Sexton, Murray, Healy, Best, Fitzpatrick, Tuohy, Ryan, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Heaslip. Replacements: Cronin, Loughney, O'Callaghan, McLaughlin, Reddan, O'Gara, Cave.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Ireland's start was bright, but they
lost possession off their own scrum with three minutes on the clock and
conceded a penalty seconds later which Dan Carter sent over.
The All Blacks went off their feet
two minutes later and Jonathan Sexton levelled matters. The score
spurred the visitors on and Donnacha Ryan, Sean O'Brien and Cian Healy
were all responsible for huge hits.
Brian O'Driscoll found Earls in
midfield and the Munster man set up the charging Simon Zebo, who was
bundled out of play only metres from the left-hand corner.
The momentum was reversed by two
quick penalty concessions and Carter landed a goal-kick from the halfway
line to make it 6-3 with 16 minutes on the clock.
The out-half added three more from a
similar distance as Savea forced a penalty through a hefty challenge on
full-back Rob Kearney.
An Ireland clearance looked to have
Zac Guilford under pressure after 26 minutes, but his drop bounced
backward and he spooned a pass left.
Smith created the opening as he drew
in Fergus McFadden and Keith Earls before offloading. Carter took
possession and slipped Savea in. The winger raced free and touched down
under the posts. Carter added the extras.
Savea broke free again minutes later
as Sean O'Brien missed a regulation tackle and it took a flying tap
tackle from Kearney and good scrambling from Peter O'Mahony for Ireland
Bruising: Zac Guildford is tackled by Jonathan Sexton at Eden Park
Charge: Captain Richie McCaw battles forward during the Test against Ireland
Zebo was Ireland's best attacking
option in the opening half and he was almost clear for a try after 30
minutes, but was chopped down in full flight as he sprinted into the All
Ireland enjoyed a brief attacking
flurry in New Zealand territory, but they were getting knocked back
heavily in the tackle. A big hit on Sexton led to broken play and Zebo
needed to use his pace in defence as he slid in to cover a dangerous
Conor Murray needed every ounce of
strength in his scrum-half frame soon after as he repelled a charging
Sam Whitelock at the right corner. Play streamed right to left and Dagg
took a great attacking line before setting up Savea for his second try.
There was attention from Kearney and
Murray and a television replay, but the score was never in doubt. Carter
landed a fine conversion from the left touchline to make it 23-3 at the
Any thoughts of an unlikely Irish
comeback were extinguished within three minutes of the restart as Dagg
and Savea combined again. The All Black 15 twisted and turned his
opposite number in defence before he popped up a pass for Savea to get
his hat-trick. Carter got his third conversion to make it 30-3.
Going down: Brian O'Driscoll is tackled by Victor Vito
Intimidation: The All Blacks perform the Haka before the showdown
Lift-off: Fireworks were set off above Eden Park at the end of the performance
All the attacks were coming down
McFadden's flank but the right winger got some relief as Rory Best
scrambled for possession and Sexton hoofed the ball upfield. The
Leinster man beat Richie McCaw in a foot race to touch down and Sexton's
conversion made it 30-10.
Earls and O'Driscoll then needed to be strong in defence as they held up Keiran Read on the line after a thundering run.
The relief was short-lived as New
Zealand's strong ruck sucked in Irish defenders but not enough to stop
Adam Thomson from crashing over.
Both teams rang the changes with 20
minutes remaining and Ireland weathered another spell of pressure from
the home team and looked to have clawed themselves back into a
McFadden outsprinted Dagg 80 metres
to score under the posts but referee Nigel Owens had already called back
play for an Irish offside.
There was further reason for Irish
hearts to flutter in the final minutes as loosehead prop Cian Healy was
injured and replaced by hooker Sean Cronin.
Smith was then rewarded for a
fantastic performance when he dived over to the right of the posts after
a slick pass from Cruden. Carter added the extras to make it 42-10 and
give the Irish plenty to ponder ahead of next week's second Test in