A savage man-to-man battle raged for over 80 minutes and finally, after over 100 years of trying, Ireland beat the All Blacks, in Dublin’s, Lansdowne Road, the oldest international rugby venue in the world.
The atmosphere was electric.
The number 1 & number 2 teams in the world were playing each other less than a year away from the Rugby World Cup. Ireland had already beaten the ABs in Chicago in 2006 for the first time, ever. So many felt it was pay-back time for the ABs, while Ireland felt they have come of age. The All Blacks delivered a different variation of the Haka, some said as they willed, demanded and roared their demand for a different result to their last meeting. You can feel the tension in the stadium.
Ireland score the only try in the game and Johnny Sexton kicks the conversion. The battle resumes. The intensity is relentless. The crowd give standing ovations for players being substituted.
Then the relentless All Blacks just kept coming. Ireland kept on hitting them backwards. Relentless stuff. The crowd helps the team by singing the Fields of Athenry. The players can hear it.
The crowd sings ‘The Fields Of Athenry’
It’s over. Ireland 16 All Blacks 9.
The first ever Irish win against the All Blacks on Irish soil in over 100 years of trying. The players, on both sides, gave everything. They ’emptied themselves’ in a passionate, highly skilled and very very hard game of rugby. Opposition players embrace each other.
Opposition players embrace each other.
Amidst the players embracing each other, a magical moment is caught on camera and tweeted later, after the game. This wonderful photo of Kiwi scrum half , TJ Perenara, (who led the Haka), embracing the Kiwi-born, Irish centre, Bundee Aki. TJ later sent a beautiful tweet and photo to Bundee afterwards:
Kiwi TJ Perenara and Ireland’ Bundee Aki embrace after the battle.————————————————————————————–
Nothing but love my brother @bundeeaki. ️ Congrats to you and the team.
Looking forward to the next one bro. ⚫️ : @inphosports
There is something magical about rugby – 80 minutes of savage confrontation and when the whistle blows it’s all over. They shake hands embrace each other as true warriors. And then the opposition teams honourably applaud each other.
Opposition players applaud each other off the pitch.
Magnanimous All Blacks
All the All Blacks were very good losers in a very clean, yet incredibly intense battle.
The ABs coach, Steve Hansen, honourably said that Ireland deserved to win. The All Blacks captain, Kieran Read, was called “a class act and a role model’ by Irish rugby hero, Tony Ward, who went on to say in his newspaper column: “To see him exit the field last to depart and clapping the Irish crowd under the West stand was a sight to behold.” “A most appropriate end to the perfect day.”
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Kieran Read’s beaming smile after the Lions drew with the ABs
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