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Irish revel in landmark NZ triumph

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/11/2016 Angelo Risso

The Irish squad will be cracking open a few tinnies on Saturday evening after achieving the impossible with a 40-29 win over the All Blacks.

Ireland were made to work for their victory over the world champions, staving off a trademark late All Blacks surge to end their opponents' run of 18 straight Test wins.

The match also serves as Ireland's first ever Test win over New Zealand since their first clash 111 years ago, and the first time the All Blacks have conceded 40 points for more than 12 years.

Kiwi-born coach Joe Schmidt told reporters after the match his outfit, which produced a set-piece masterclass and impressed in defence, had character in spades.

The absence of towering Kiwi locking duo Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick had given his side an avenue to dominate at lineout, upon which they duly capitalised.

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

The lineouts were also used as a platform for several lethal mauls, from which Ireland nabbed a pair of tries through openside Jordi Murphy and winger Simon Zebo.

"They were missing a number of second-rowers and that allowed us access into the game, they missed a few lineouts and Best and CJ (Stander) cleaned up a few," Schmidt said.

"That was somewhere we felt we could potentially exploit."

The victory over New Zealand was lent additional significance by the manner of defeat in their last encounter, when a last-gasp sideline conversion gave the Kiwis victory.

History seemed set to repeat itself with Ireland ahead by four in the 75th minute, and Schmidt admitted to feeling a few butterflies as the seconds ticked away.

But the elation of victory had convinced the coach to relax a post-match alcohol ban on his troops.

"I think I inadvertently said something during the week like, if you win something, I don't really care about what you do the rest of this series," Schmidt said.

"So I've probably put my foot in it there."

Best, 34, said the side would celebrate their achievement, keeping in mind the strength of their opponent and rematch in Dublin in a fortnight.

The team had attempted to double down on their off-field homework after being given limited time to train following their Monday arrival in Chicago.

"It is a massive thing for us, a massive mark of the respect we have for the All Blacks that it means so much to us, because they're such a quality side," the Ulster rake said.

The Irish will now return to the Emerald Isle for a Test against Canada, before facing off against the All Blacks again on November 19.

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