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All Blacks lose to Ireland, streak over

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/11/2016 Angelo Risso

The All Blacks have lost to Ireland for the first time, beaten 40-29 to end their record streak of Test wins at 18.

The world champions were well below their best on neutral territory in Chicago, behind by 22 points by the 50th minute and conceding 40 points for the first time in 12 years.

Ireland pushed ahead early on the back of a senseless yellow card to prop Joe Moody, and produced a near flawless performance at the set-piece and in defence.

And despite a trademark late surge, pulling within four points with 15 minutes to go, the All Blacks couldn't repeat their remarkable comeback win of 2013 and instead conceded a try to end to end the contest.

New Zealand wasted three lineouts in the first half alone, while veteran Ireland hooker Rory Best put on a clinic with 10 successful lineouts from 12.

The All Blacks were also uncharacteristically lax in their defending, making 11 missed tackles and struggling to contain the oft-deployed Irish driving maul.

Irish playmaker Johnny Sexton opened the scoring with a third minute penalty goal, but the All Blacks bounced back moments later through centre George Moala.

Recalled winger Waisake Naholo broke down the middle, before an offload found its way to Moala via the head of Kieran Read to score.

Looking likely to push ahead with the match, the All Blacks then shot themselves in the foot with Moody's sin binning for a lifting tackle on Irish second five-eighth Robbie Henshaw.

The loss of the muscular loosehead gave Ireland a licence to attack, which they duly exploited.

Irish openside Jordi Murphy put his side back in front on the back of a ninth-minute maul, before a Rob Kearney break gave blindside CJ Stander the chance to barge over.

The two sides traded penalty goals to keep the gap at 10, before All Blacks midfielder Ryan Crotty was withdrawn with a hamstring injury for Malakai Fekitoa.

Murphy followed suit with what appeared a serious knee injury, but the loss of the dynamic openside didn't break the Irish side's stride.

After holding firm in defence, they extended their lead when Barrett failed to collect a Sexton bomb and halfback Conor Murray capitalised to stroll over.

Down 25-8 at the break, the All Blacks no doubt received an ear bashing in the sheds from coach Steve Hansen and emerged for the second half in an energetic mood.

But sloppy passing and penalties continued to let them down and winger Simon Zebo took advantage of another Irish driving maul to coast over on the left edge in the 49th minute.

Hansen, whose side was now behind by 22, used Zebo's try to shuffle his pack, introducing Aaron Cruden and moving Barrett to fullback and Ben Smith to the wing.

The move paid dividends, with substitute halfback TJ Perenara getting on the end of a Dane Coles offload to score and Smith crashing over in the corner.

Another All Blacks try, to debut lock Scott Barrett, reduced Ireland's lead to 33-29.

But New Zealand couldn't use their momentum to push in front and impressive second-five Henshaw put the nail in the All Blacks' coffin on the back of a 76th minute scrum.

The side will now travel to Rome for a Test against Italy, before seeking vengeance against the Irish in Dublin in a fortnight.

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