It wasn’t that the Irish played badly in Hamilton on Saturday night – it’s that they didn’t really get the chance to play at all, as the All Blacks supplied their retort to Christchurch’s nail-biter by blitzing the tourists 60-nil.
Momentum is a huge factor in sport, and from the moment the game began the All Blacks had it. Young Sam Cane scored the first of his brace of tries in the seventh minute, and from there the home-side completely dominated.
Aaron Cruden dictated play with flair and panache, before leaving the game at halftime with an injury scare. However, Beauden Barrett, along with the rest of the bench players when they were inevitably introduced, slotted in seamlessly and gave the Irish no respite.
29-nil at halftime was 60-nil when the full time buzzer sounded, and Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll summed up the feeling in his camp with the repeated use of the word ‘embarrassing’ in his after match talk.
The All Blacks’ scrum continues to be a work-on, with the Irish performing well in this area, but the critics will have been silenced when it comes to the breakdown, with the offensive defence of the New Zealand tacklers allowing them to spend the majority of the match firmly on the front foot.