Ireland (14/1 World Cup 2023 Outright) further demonstrated their ability to compete on the world stage after beating New Zealand 29-20 at the Aviva Stadium to extend their winning streak to seven.
Ahead of World Cup 2023 in France, Ireland are building momentum and playing some expansive rugby under head coach Andy Farrell.
After finishing the Six Nations campaign with three successive victories over Italy, Scotland and England, Farrell’s men have seen off Japan twice and also earned wins against the USA and New Zealand (15/8 World Cup 2023 Outright).
Saturday’s win in front of a 51,000-strong crowd at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium is the most impressive during that streak and suggests the fifth-ranked side in the world can challenge at next year’s World Cup.
James Lowe got the scoring underway but the All Blacks managed to turn things around and led 10-5 at the half-time break following a Codie Taylor try and two kicks from Jodie Barrett.
Ireland came out fighting in the second period as Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris crossed, although Jonny Sexton (pictured), who missed a first-half penalty, failed to convert one of those to maximise their advantage.
A Will Jordan try helped the All Blacks to reduce the deficit but Joey Carbery kicked three penalties in the final 15 minutes to seal the result.
It’s just the third time that Ireland have defeated the Southern Hemisphere nation but each of those three triumphs have come since 2016.
Try scorer Lowe told Channel 4: “It’s amazing. Never in a million years did I think this day would come. I dreamt of being an All Black as a kid.
“I gave up that dream as I wasn’t good enough and to come over here, to hear my native country anthem and stand in front of the haka, it’s a childhood dream.”
Freddie Steward and Jamie Blamire crossed for England’s only tries of the match as Australia were restricted to just scores with the boot throughout.
Owen Farrell enjoyed a fine afternoon as he kicked five penalties, while Marcus Smith added a further penalty shortly before Blamire’s try on the 80th minute.
Australia, who now trail England 26-25 in the overall h2h, have lost each of their last five meetings with the Red Rose.
They went down 30-15 in Edinburgh as captain Stuart Hogg, who crossed once in each half, moved level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger as Scotland’s all-time joint-highest try scorer.
South Africa trailed 10-8 at the break but Scotland’s ill-discipline proved costly in the second half as the visitors kicked five of six penalties to add to Makazole Mapimpi’s try.
Hogg told Amazon Prime: “Basic parts of our game let us down and it’s cost us. It sounds negative, but that’s what we need to be the best.
“We challenged ourselves to come out in the second half and make the most of it.
“Unfortunately we were second best at times. We’ve almost shot ourselves in the foot there, and it hurts.”