All Blacks' Steve Hansen hails Ireland as best in world after defeat

Karl Tu'inukuafe right holdsthe Hillary Shield with Jack Goodhue after the All Blacks' win over England at Twickenham last weekend

Ireland beat the All Blacks 16-9 at home for the first time on Saturday and laid a major marker for the Rugby World Cup next year.

A second-half try from Jacob Stockdale helped Ireland to their first ever win over New Zealand in Ireland as Joe Schmidt's side held on for just their second ever win over the All Blacks.

Hansen said that he also felt Ireland were now favourites to win next year's World Cup in Japan, too.

Any fears Ireland might rue not making more of the All Blacks' nine first-half penalties were eased with a stunning try upon the resumption. We're going to be right up in that area.

"New Zealand are renowned for the style of rugby they play, and one to 15 they can all play and put people into space and through holes".

It was telling that Beauden Barrett opted successfully for the posts rather than the corner with his first opportunity in range, an option Sexton turned down nearly immediately after the visitors gave away their sixth penalty in just over 20 minutes.

Yet, a high tackle would allow Beauden Barrett to slot a penalty and draw the visitors back within seven points, but Ireland simply refused to be denied as they produced one massive final defensive effort to overcome the All Blacks.

The game inevitably opened up and New Zealand's backline became more of a feature but Ireland, saved again by O'Mahony before he limped off to a hero's ovation on the hour, survived the onslaught.

New Zealand retained their world number one status despite losing to number two side Ireland - but head coach Hansen had claimed before the clash that the victor would swipe the global bragging rights. "That's how you should feel when you get beaten". They worked the ball from deep to the Ireland 22, going through the phases as the clock moved into injury time.

At the same time, Hansen promised that his team would improve because of this defeat. They took their opportunities, so you've got to give them credit for doing that.

Scott Sio's yellow card for a deliberate knock-on during a sustained spell of second-half pressure from the home side when the score was 21-7 was a severe test for the tourists.

"So we've prepared as well as we can physically, the guys have prepared really well, and are just looking forward to it. And when we get those chances to get the ball back we do that".

"I was really proud of Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath, what a test for them".

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