By Gary Watton
November 6 2016
Remember, remember the fifth of November! Who in the Irish rugby family can ever forget such a date now? After all, the men in green have belatedly exorcised the demons from bygone days of yore by inflicting their first-ever defeat upon mighty New Zealand. As well as ending 111 years of humiliation and the occasional near miss, the Oirish also dealt the All Blacks their first loss after a prolonged winning sequence that extended into double figures.
Soldier Field in Chicago was the unlikely venue for this momentous occasion. It felt like a home match, such was the level of support for the victors. Their triumph was much deserved. They were miles ahead at the interval and this time did not wilt in the second half. Conor Murray was immense again, even adding a penalty to his fine solo try. Robbie Henshaw was equally good, while the pack also gave a very good account of themselves. What rendered this milestone all the more remarkable was that Ireland were not necessarily at full strength. They had to soldier on without the likes of Bowe, Henderson, O'Brien, and O'Mahony, but once again we were treated to a demonstration of our strength in depth and a timely reminder that this team remains capable of greatness. The future remains bright. The whole squad, after all, should take much heart and encouragement from this slaying of Goliath. Anything after this climbing of Everest should seem more straightforward!
Finally, a thank you to Chiefs and Luddite for dishing out sporting praise after our previous success in South Africa. Kudos to you and your national team.
IRELAND 40 New Zealand 29; in Chicago; Saturday the 5th of November 2016.
12 Henshaw [TRY]
11 Zebo [TRY]
10 Sexton [two penalties, two conversions]
9 Murray [TRY, penalty]
7 Murphy [TRY]
6 Stander [TRY]
2 Best (captain)
Used replacements: Van der Flier, Carbery [conversion], Bealham, Healy, Dillane, Cronin, Marmion