It is once again time to sound the clarion call that the All Blacks’ rugby dominance is at its end.
Seems as though this claim never lacks for voices. If it were we, we would be saying it only on the assumption that if something is said enough times over a sufficiently long period of time, it will eventually come to pass and we can claim prediction genius.
True, Ireland did beat New Zealand 16 – 9 in Dublin and the Irish beat them in Chicago in 2016. This hardly sounds like a trend or a death knell for the All Blacks.
The clash between the top two squads in the world did live up to its billing.
The first half was akin to two heavyweights feeling each other out in the open rounds of a title fight, but the second half at Aviva Stadium found the Irish scoring a classic try and holding the All Blacks tryless for the first time since last year’s Lions tour.
The win in Chicago was Ireland’s first over New Zealand in 111 years. With only two years intervening since that win, it is easy to see why many are eager to see the All Blacks toppled.
It did not take 11 years for Ireland to gain independence from England. Well, that is not exactly accurate, but the concept is valid.
This win on the old sod was significant in that this time, New Zealand was close to full strength and was not nearly as complacent as they were in Chicago. They knew ahead of this game that Ireland posed a threat.
The unusual aspect of the game was that the usually highly composed All Blacks were committing knock-ons and spills to an extent that almost made it appear as though the Wallabies had been rung in to take the place of the Kiwis.
New Zealand maintains the number one ranking, the ranking they have held for the past nine years.