It was another good day at the office for the All Blacks when they took on Ireland at the magical Croke park on Saturday night.
Not such a great night for Ireland who had hyped the game up quite considerably beforehand - which is not surprising as the talk-ups between test matches - particularly in the NH - seem to be part and parcel of tests nowadays.
Unlike the rest of the critical New Zealand rugby public, I thought the All Blacks showed a lot of heart. To restrict both Scotland and Ireland to tryless final scores says a lot about this team’s excellent defensive structure. And the backline looks exciting when it gets a bit of space.
Star player for me was Ma’a Nonu who made Brian O’Driscoll and co look ordinary. An easy looking fend flicked O’Gara into a green heap at one stage and the Wellington man ran some great lines – especially leading up to try he built with Joe Rokocoko.
New Zealand was a bit selfish when it came to releasing the ball. Particularly – and surprisingly – from Mils Muliaina. There were at least three passes that he didn’t release on potential overlaps and I’d like to think that will be picked up by the coaches and remedied come Cardiff. There’s no "I" in team Mils!
Meanwhile the All Blacks prepare for a midweek test against Doug Howlett’s Munster. Whether the Munster men will turn in a haka to challenge the Abs is anyone’s guess. I hope they do – it will make a good spectacle.
Highlights of the weekend