Sports Digest: All Blacks narrowly edge Ireland, Graeme McDowell close, and Shay Given move
A round up of Irish sports news
All Blacks Narrowly Edge Ireland
Ireland came agonizingly close to finally beating the All-Blacks for the first time ever in Christchurch last Saturday before a last gasp Dan Carter drop goal secured a 22-19 win for the world champions.
Defeat was a bitter pill for the Irish team to take when it looked for so long like they would get a draw at least after an early Conor O’Mahony try and some fine kicking from Jonathan Sexton set them up nicely on the scoreboard.
Captain Carter had other ideas, however, and took advantage late on when referee Nigel Owens
A week after they were crushed in the first test, this was better from the tourists.
Irish skipper Brian O’Driscoll echoed the disappointment within his dressingroom when he said, “We set standards of ourselves and we’re trying to be a consistent team. We dipped below those standards last week, individually and collectively.
“The jersey deserved a little bit more from us and we talked about that this week. Trying to restore a bit of that (pride) in the jersey and I think we did manage to do that. We fell at the final hurdle still.
“It is difficult when you have fought your way back into the game and got level on the board. They were a man down for the last seven or eight minutes.
“It is difficult to take any positives from the performance but I’m sure, when we look back, there will be plenty of them. We have another goal for the third test on Saturday and we don’t have to finish our season on that result.”
Irish out-half Ronan O’Gara has dismissed claims from the New Zealand camp that his team played as well as they could last Saturday, and believes there is more to come in this weekend’s final test.
“Ireland did play well the other night,” claimed O’Gara. “The All Blacks were probably in second gear and they had every reason to be in second gear because of the way we played at Eden Park. It is only natural.
“It shouldn’t take something like that to give us a boot up the backside. We have our standards, have our values, for, a lot of us, the last 10 or 12 years.
All-Blacks coach Steve Hanson had claimed after last weekend’s that Ireland had reached their peak for this tour but O’Gara disagreed.
He said, “A lot of that, you can read into it after an event. You could say that it is condescending but I don’t think it was meant like that.
“We all speak with emotions sometimes and that was what Steve felt at the time. I would have no problem with that. Steve was probably relieved to get over the finish line as you could see an edge to them.”
Like O’Gara, Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton is keen to make amends and finally beat the Kiwis in this Saturday’s third and final test.
Sexton, who missed a late penalty before Carter snatched victory for the All-Blacks with a drop goal last weekend, could start at center this time around and is keen for the action to get underway.
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