Three-time champions New Zealand inflicted more World Cup heartbreak on Ireland on Saturday, beating them 28-24 to bring a disappointing end to Irish captain Johnny Sexton’s stellar career.
The All Blacks avenged a historic home series defeat at the hands of Ireland last year, taking their chances when they had them.
Defeat ended Ireland’s run of 17 successive Test victories and denied them the chance of their first ever semi-final.
“It was one of those Test matches, it was a battle, I’m really proud of my boys. Ireland have set the standard and I want to send love to them,” said player of the match Ardie Savea.
New Zealand overcame the loss of two players to the sin bin, including veteran halfback Aaron Smith just before the halftime break, to produce seal a semi-final spot with a victory that left former skipper Sean Fitzpatrick ‘lost for words’.
“What an unbelievable game of rugby union. I am lost for words. I knew the All Blacks had a game in them, but it was the way they delivered and put pressure on Ireland,” Fitzpatrick said.
MORE TO COME
Originally published as Rugby World Cup 2023: New Zealand def Ireland, quarter-final results, semi-final fixtures