All-Blacks break Irish hearts in Paris

All-Blacks break Irish hearts in Paris

The Irish rugby team's World Cup adventure came to an end on Saturday night in Paris, they were defeated by New Zealand with a 24-28 scoreline.

The contest ebbed and flowed throughout the 80 minutes, but Will Jordan's second-half try ultimately made the difference between the two sides.

New Zealand's victory means that it is the end of Ireland's 17-match winning streak, and it also marks the retirement from the game for several Irish stars. Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls have played their last games for their country.

Here's how Ireland's game against New Zealand unfolded:

The All Blacks initially seemed nervous, but Irish indiscipline allowed Ian Foster's side to take an early 6-0 lead in the match.

Much debate had centred around New Zealand's prowess before the game, and within two minutes, they demonstrated why they are still one of the best teams in the world. Beauden Barrett spotted a gap and executed a chip and chase. Despite being tackled by James Lowe, the ball found its way to Leicester Fainga'anuku, who extended the lead to 13-0.

Shortly after, Ireland finally got on the scoreboard. Shannon Frizell obstructed Hugo Keenan, and Sexton converted the penalty to make it 3-13.

Ireland improved from this point, applying sustained pressure in the All Blacks' half. A sloppy pass from James Lowe almost halted the momentum, but Bundee Aki maintained his composure to narrow the gap to 8-13. Sexton converted the try.

The All Blacks kept coming at Ireland though. A mistake at a line-out allowed Will Jordan and Reiko Ioane to quickly find Ardie Savea in the corner. The conversion was missed.

Ireland knew they were still in the contest, and their chances improved when scrum-half Aaron Smith was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.

Ireland intensified the pressure, and Auckland native Jamison Gibson-Park managed to touch down before the break. Sexton converted, making it 17-18 at halftime.

The second half promised an even more thrilling contest. The teams returned to the pitch with Smith back in the game.

Similar to the first half, New Zealand struck first. Mo'unga spotted a gap in the Irish defence, evaded a tackle from James Lowe, and found himself in acres of space. He offloaded to Will Jordan, who had enough speed to outrun Hugo Keenan. The score was 25-17, and Ireland had to respond.

Sexton had the chance to reduce the deficit to 5, but missed the opportunity moments later.

Ireland refused to yield, and in the 63rd minute, a penalty try was awarded when an Irish maul, which was advancing steadily, was brought down by Codie Taylor. The score now stood at 24-25.

The game became a battle of penalties, and one of these proved to be the difference on the night. Tadhg Beirne conceded one for obstruction, and Jordie Barrett's late effort sailed over the posts, making it 25-28.

Ireland believed they had crossed the line once again, but the ball was held up by the brilliant All Blacks defence.

In the final minutes, with the clock in the red, Andy Farrell's side pushed forward for over 30 phases. However, it was New Zealand that held on, causing a significant upset in Paris.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong; Tadgh Beirne, Iain Henderson; Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Joe McCarthy, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Jimmy O'Brien.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Leicester Fainga'anuku; Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor, Tyrel Lomax; Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett; Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (capt), Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Samuel Whitelock, Dalton Papali'i, Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)