Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' quarter-final win over Ireland

The All Blacks are through to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, after a convincing 46-14 win over Ireland on Saturday. 

While many expected a close contest, New Zealand were far too clinical, running in seven tries to set up a final four showdown against England next weekend. 

Two tries from Aaron Smith and one by Beauden Barrett helped the All Blacks to a 22-0 lead at half-time. The two-time defending champions scored further tries through Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett after the break.

Gerry Thornley - The Irish Times

 

 "The quarter-final glass ceiling remains firmly intact. In truth, it never looked like being touched, much less breached, during the course of this utterly one-sided affair.

After this record Rugby World Cup defeat, never has a semi-final seemed so far out of reach.

"So much for the theory - based more on hope and past evidence rather than evidence - that Ireland would produce a big performance. Rocked early on by the quality of the All Blacks start, Ireland were well below par.

"For all their X-factor outside, their diminutive halfback Aaron Smith was the sniper-in-chief with the first two tries, while Kieran Read was magnificent in all he did, which was plenty.

"One telling stat was the tally of 16 offloads to two. No prizes for guessing which team made the 16.

"By contrast, Ireland's attacking game never looked like penetrating the fast line-speed and tackle execution of the All Blacks' defence. Their supremacy was all-encompassing. Even the Irish maul couldn't make any inroads.

"Having spent much of the last four years trying to atone for the quarter-final defeat by Argentina, this was an awful way for the Joe Schmidt era to end, and ditto for the captaincy of Rory Best who, to his credit, put in a big shift, as did Peter O'Mahony and Garry Ringrose. But these were crumbs, never mind morsels."

Michael Morrow - BBC

 

"The narrative from the Ireland camp remained consistent throughout the week-long buildup: they had to produce an almost flawless display if they were to even run New Zealand close.

"However, not for a single minute of Saturday's contest did it look as though Ireland possessed the tools capable of derailing the champions.

"Indeed, it was New Zealand who produced what was infinitely closer to perfect rugby, taking their game to a level with which Ireland could not contend.

"After Richie Mo'unga had kicked his side ahead, Smith navigated the All Blacks deep into Ireland territory before darting through a gap to score.

The All Blacks perform the haka before their match against Ireland.
The All Blacks perform the haka before their match against Ireland. Photo credit: Photosport

"Although still in the first quarter, the signs were looking ominous for Ireland, with New Zealand winning the battle at the breakdown and punching holes in the defence as they stretched their play left, right and back again through the scintillating back three of Barrett, Sevu Reece and Bridge.

"Ireland needed a spark and had the opportunity to, but Johnny Sexton missed his touch, and two minutes later the ball was back at the opposite end of the pitch, with Smith diving over from close range.

"The third try, which killed off any faint Irish hopes of a revival, came from an Ireland move inside the New Zealand half, with Reece's hit on Sexton dislodging the ball, allowing Barrett to kick through and gather beyond the line."

Rory Keane - Daily Mail

 

"Dear, oh, dear. Ireland's abysmal record in Rugby World Cup quarter-finals continued in Tokyo as a rampant All Blacks outfit romped to a seven-try victory, setting up a tantalising semi-final against England next week.

"New Zealand came into this knockout tie on a 17-game unbeaten streak at World Cups, stretching all the way back to the 2007 edition. In eight quarter-final appearances, they have failed just once, to the French in that shock 20-18 defeat in Cardiff 12 years ago.

"Ireland arrived here in Tokyo with six losses in six quarter-final appearances, but this loss will hurt the most. This was the last stand for head coach Joe Schmidt and skipper Rory Best, and it was a sad way for two glittering careers to end. Schmidt and Best have had some great days, but this was a traumatic way to call it a day. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' quarter-final win over Ireland

"And how about New Zealand? They were simply sublime. From the physicality of their tight five to the dynamism of Ardie Savea to the calm leadership of Kieran Read, they laid a platform for scrum-half Aaron Smith - who bagged a brace - and the dual playmaking combo of Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett to run the show. Their outside backs were operating on a different plain."

Paul Rees - The Guardian

 

"The forecast rain did not turn up, but a big black cloud did. New Zealand are never more menacing than when they are portrayed as vulnerable, which they were in the buildup to this quarter-final, but they left Ireland scattered all over the turf to set up a semi-final with England.

"Attention was focused on the lack of international experience between halfback and fullback, but the history of the All Blacks contains several examples of getting an opponent to look one way when the danger is coming from another direction. Ireland prepared for a battle out wide, but the ball only went there after New Zealand had driven hard time and again through the belly of the Ireland pack. It was a victory based on forward supremacy.

Steve Hansen with Joe Schmidt before the All Blacks v Ireland quarter-final.
Steve Hansen with Joe Schmidt before the All Blacks v Ireland quarter-final. Photo credit: Photosport

"It was brutally simple, intelligent and skilful rugby, the ability to absorb contact, hold on to the ball, make gradual metres and then move it quickly when gaps appeared. The two wings, Sevu Reece and George Bridge, had a licence to roam and Ireland reached points where, manfully though they defended, they ran out of numbers.

"New Zealand were playing with such pace and precision that Ireland did well not to collapse. They had few opportunities, not helped when Jonathan Sexton's kick to touch after a penalty did not make it, one of three from the men in green, but they were under such constant pressure in defence and attack that they struggled for oxygen."

Daniel Schofield - The Telegraph

 

"And England thought they had made a statement. Shortly after Eddie Jones' team entered Tokyo's most exclusive club, the All Blacks breezed in for their date wearing double-denim complete with crocodile-skin loafers and a cravat. 

"All eyes on them now after this most comprehensive of quarter-final victories, a seven-try rout of a side who had beaten them just 11 months ago. The scoreline may have had a similar feel to England's victory to Australia, but the display was from a different planet. 

"New Zealand feasted on Ireland's mistakes like a shoal of starving piranhas. And there were a lot of mistakes, more than in any other game of the Joe Schmidt era. The most clinical and calculating of teams was reduced to a rabble. That's the All Blacks' effect. 

"'They were stifling,'" Schmidt admitted. 'They made it very hard for us to breathe. What was most frustrating was that when we had opportunities to breath we gave them back the oxygen by missing touch.'

"This was a complete performance stemming from dominance up front and control of the collisions. On the previous occasions that they had beaten New Zealand, Ireland had made lightning starts, setting the tone with their ferocity in the tackle and carry. Opposite the All Blacks, they were as passive as the felines of Tokyo's cat cafes.

"With just 30 minutes of rugby under his belt at this tournament, Brodie Retallick smited everything that moved, Ardie Savea ran rampant while captain Kieran Read showed reports of his demise had been greatly exaggerated." 

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