New Zealand 27-17 Ireland

Ireland mounted a gallant bid to beat New Zealand but missed chances ensured they came unstuck again in Auckland and lost the two-Test series 2-0. [more]

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Ireland mounted a gallant bid to beat New Zealand but missed chances ensured they came unstuck again in Auckland and lost the two-Test series 2-0.

Two stunning tries to Brian O’Driscoll’s side in the final six minutes of the first half turned the second Test with the All Blacks upside down.

But the hosts held off a determined Ireland effort in the third quarter of the match and New Zealand fly-half Luke McAlister sealed the result in the 70th minute when he capitalised on some powerful forward play to score a try under the posts.

His conversion gave the All Blacks an unassailable 27-17 lead.

It was a game dominated by heavy rain which made handling difficult, although that did not drown the attacking instincts of both teams, and for 25 minutes in the middle stages of the game, the Irish had a great chance to seal their first win over the All Blacks.

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New Zealand had looked to be comfortably in charge with a 20-0 lead through a fifth-minute try to half-back Byron Kelleher and a controversial try in the 27th minute to prop Clarke Dermody.

Lock Chris Jack looked to have dropped the ball in the immediate movement before Dermody scored.

Ireland protested but then responded in the best fashion possible when scrum-half Peter Stringer took a tap-penalty and fed big lock Paul O’Connell five metres out from the New Zealand line.

He was taken to ground, but was not held, regaining his feet and finding open space in the All Blacks in-goal area to score.

A minute before the break Stringer secured a fine take at a lineout five metres from the All Blacks line. The Irish drove around him and in the rush along the goal-line, it was hooker Jerry Flannery who scored.

Fly-half Ronan O’Gara converted both tries and then 12 minutes into the second half he landed a penalty goal to get Ireland to within three points.

But that was as close as the Irish got and although the All Blacks had to defend solidly in the face of sustained pressure they never looked like cracking.

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