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Two-try Andrew Porter helps Ireland to historic victory in New Zealand
Andrew Porter twice powered over to help the impressive Irish to a deserved 23-12 victory.
Ireland claimed a historic first win away to New Zealand to force a series decider following a breathless Dunedin encounter packed with drama.
Andrew Porter twice powered over to help the impressive Irish to a deserved 23-12 victory over the indisciplined All Blacks.
Captain Johnny Sexton – passed fit to play following concussion concerns – added 13 points as Andy Farrell’s side set up a tantalising third and final Test in Wellington thanks to a landmark result.
New Zealand cruised to a 42-19 success in Auckland last weekend but their quest to clinch series glory at the first opportunity was undermined by repeated infringements.
Replacement prop Angus Ta’avao was sent off for ploughing into the head of Garry Ringrose at the end of a chaotic 15-minute first-half spell during which team-mates Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ungafasi were sin-binned.
Referee Jaco Peyper was at the heart of the gripping action and could arguably have punished the ragged hosts more severely.
Beauden Barrett’s improvised score and a late Will Jordan try gave the depleted Kiwis hope but they proved powerless to prevent a first home defeat to their opponents having won the previous 12 meetings.
Ireland arrived at Forsyth Barr Stadium bruised from being blown away at Eden Park.
Farrell’s men once again made a rapid start and, on this occasion, went ahead inside three minutes.
Leinster prop Porter bulldozed over at the end of sustained Irish pressure, with Sexton adding the extras and then landing a long-range penalty forced by the doggedness of Caelan Doris.
New Zealand were struggling to make an impact and were hampered by repeated indiscretions during a frantic opening period in which they were twice down to 13 men.
Winger Fainga’anuku was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card following a reckless charge down on Mack Hansen before prop Tu’ungafasi joined him in the sin bin for tackling Ringrose off the ball to deny the Irish a second try.
Ta’avao was brought on as front-row cover for Tu’ungafasi but promptly dismissed with a bloodied face in the 31st minute following a sickening head-on-head contact with Ringrose, who departed to be replaced by Bundee Aki.
South African official Peyper was at the centre of the gripping action.
He should have briefly reduced New Zealand to 12 men due to their foul play temporarily leading to uncontested scrums.
Amid the chaos, Ireland struggled to manage the game and squandered numerous chances to stretch the scoreboard before being pegged back just before the break.
New Zealand were rewarded for relentless pressure as Beauden Barrett dived over after the ball squirted out of a ruck, with brother Jordie Barrett adding the conversion.
That score left Ireland just 10-7 ahead at the interval and also down to 14 men for the restart after vice-captain James Ryan was moments earlier shown a yellow card for cynically stopping a quick-tap penalty.
Ireland regained their composure during the break and were rewarded for their patience.
Porter – who had only scored two international tries in his career before kick-off – again battered his way over, just before lock Ryan returned to bolster the ranks.
Influential Sexton retained his 100 per cent kicking record, slotting the conversion and then adding two important penalties to steer his side home.
The fly-half, who turns 37 on Monday, later departed the field gingerly following a painful slip, albeit he was fit enough to return for a post-match interview.
New Zealand pushed for a way back into the contest but were repeatedly thwarted by the immense Irish defence before substitute Jordan eventually claimed a late consolation.
Having surrendered momentum in the series, Ian Foster’s men will need to regroup ahead of next weekend’s titanic showdown in the capital.