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Rugby | International Rugby

All Blacks defeat Ireland after conceding early try



New Zealand overcame Ireland 38-18 on Saturday after conceding an early try to win the third leg of their grand slam tour at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Ireland, who gave their best display of the November internationals, took an early lead with the first try of the match to flanker Stephen Ferris.

They were, though, forced to make three times the number of tackles of their opponents and the effort of repelling wave after wave of remorseless attacks from the All Blacks began to take its toll. The match was decided by three tries to the New Zealand forwards within eight minutes on either side of the interval.

Anthony Boric barged over on the stroke of halftime and Keiran Read and Sam Whitelock put the match beyond Ireland's reach with tries immediately after the restart.

New Zealand recycled the ball with remorseless efficiency from the kickoff in a frenzied opening quarter.

After scrambling desperately in defence, Ireland lifted the crowd's spirits with a spirited counter-attack, featuring captain Brian O'Driscoll, which fizzled out when his centre partner Gordon D'Arcy missed a drop goal attempt.

Daniel Carter kicked his third penalty to put New Zealand ahead 9-6 before Ireland thrilled their supporters after claiming the restart and surging on to the attack.

Jonathan Sexton ran the ball to the left, linking with number eight Jamie Heaslip who slipped the ball to Ferris coming inside on the angle to plunge over the New Zealand line.

O'DRISCOLL TRY

Irish euphoria was shortlived. Mils Muliaina embarked on a bruising run up the centre to put New Zealand deep in Irish territory and a series of exploratory forays were rewarded when Boric ploughed through two Irish tacklers to score.

Number eight Read went over unopposed five minutes after the restart and replacement lock Whitelock completed another sweeping move combining both backs and forwards.

Ireland were not quite finished and O'Driscoll took his Irish record try tally to 41 in his 106th test when he scooped up a loose ball and dived over the line.

Replacement back Keith Earls had a chance to score in the corner for Ireland in the 75th minute but he was bundled out into touch in goal and with the match already decided Read gathered a second try on the final minute.

"The Irish played with a lot of intensity," New Zealand captain Richie McCaw told BBC television. "We played quite a bit of rugby in the first half and probably didn't get the reward.

"It was pretty physical out there and it was a good tough test match."

New Zealand now attempt to complete their third grand slam in five years at the Millennium Stadium next Saturday.

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