New Zealand leave it late to make history with 14th straight win
Last Updated: 24/11/13 6:22pm
Ryan Crotty crosses in the corner to score a try on the final play of the game
Ireland are still waiting for a first win over New Zealand after losing 24-22 in heartbreaking fashion in Dublin.
In the process New Zealand became the first side in the professional era to win all their games in a calendar year - this was their 14th straight success since losing at Twickenham last December.
But they could not have left it any later as Ryan Crotty got over in the corner on the last play of the game and Aaron Cruden kicked the match-winning conversion at the second attempt.
Conor Murray, Rory Best and Rob Kearney all crossed for the hosts inside 20 minutes as Ireland looked set to end a run of 27 winless encounters with the Kiwis dating back to 1905.
But New Zealand wing Julian Savea racked up his 19th international try in just his 20th cap to hand the All Blacks a foothold in the game, Ben Franks' try got them to within five points with 15 minutes left and despite Ireland's heroic defence, Crotty got over.
Fly-half Cruden fluffed the conversion at the first attempt, only to be handed a dramatic reprieve, as Ireland flew off their line before Cruden had started his run-up.
Leading by just five points, Ireland had attempted to play out the clock in the final minute - only to concede a cheap ruck penalty.
New Zealand launched a trademark quick attack, and after fine work from Kieran Read, Ma'a Nonu and Cruden, Crotty sneaked into the left corner to shatter Irish dreams of a first victory over the All Blacks at the 28th attempt.
Three first-quarter tries shook the All Blacks to their very core.
Dave Kearney cut in off his wing, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien punched tight-drive holes - and half-back Murray pounced to open the scoring.
Moments later, Ireland were scenting the whitewash again - more quick ball allowed Best to dummy a pass and wriggle home for the home side's second try.
Ireland sustained the pressure and when Israel Dagg failed to hold Cruden's pass, Kearney pounced to scoop in the loose ball and race 70 metres to score.
Cruden's clever cross-field chip set wing Savea free, and the arch finisher cut home for his third try in two weeks.
Undeterred, Ireland pressed on again, and quickly set camp in the All Blacks' 22.
Sexton then slotted a penalty after New Zealand turned in at the scrum, to extend the home lead to 22-7 at the break.
New Zealand built consistent pressure after half-time and Savea came in off his wing to pinch the Irish defence, before full-back Dagg hurtled across the tryline.
English Television Match Official Graham Hughes was called to adjudicate by Welsh referee Nigel Owens. And Hughes chalked it off, much to the visitors' surprise.
New Zealand came again from their five-metre scrum, Murray stripped Ben Smith to give Ireland the steal - only for Toner to be penalised for obstruction.
Cruden slotted the goal to cut Ireland's lead to 12, but failed with another penalty strike minutes later.
Read's mistimed tackle took Kearney out in mid-air, gifting Ireland a penalty and chance to clear from their own 22.
Sexton's weak clearance and Bowe's missed tackle on Savea handed the initiative straight back to New Zealand though.
Quick hands from Read, a half-break from Ben Smith and New Zealand were within whitewash range again - and a bloodied Franks barrelled over for the All Blacks' second converted try.
Ireland responded, forcing a penalty deep in the Kiwis' 22, but Sexton could not extend the lead to eight, striking wide of the right-hand post.
New Zealand inevitably pressed again, but Nonu's knock on and Cruden's ill-judged chip let Ireland off the hook.
Ireland failed to drive tight phases to the conclusion, conceding a soft ruck penalty.
New Zealand launched one final attack, Read, Ben Smith and Nonu prevalent: before Crotty got home in the left corner.
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