SOLDIER FIELD, Chicago — All Blacks coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to the victorious Ireland side saying they were “outstanding” and “deserved the win”.
Ireland ended their 111-year wait to record their first ever win over New Zealand at a soldout Soldier Field. It was a remarkable match which Ireland ended up winning 40-29 and Hansen was full of praise for the victors.
“That was a brave effort to get back to 33-29 and in the end it was one step too far,” Hansen said. “Ireland were outstanding and thoroughly deserved the win. It makes up for the last one which they should’ve won.
“Full credit to Ireland and I hope they fully enjoy their victory. It’s great we’re in Chicago where so many fans will be able to enjoy it.”
Hansen admitted they have work to do ahead of Italy next weekend and said Ireland did well to target back-row Ardie Savea who ended up being utilised as a makeshift winger in the second half as New Zealand battled a number of injuries.
“It was smart play and credit to them,” Hansen added. “We haven’t got any excuses, we were beaten by the better side on the day.”
Captain Kieran Read admitted New Zealand “weren’t able to get into the game” but said they will work hard to get back to winning ways.
“It’s disappointing,” Read said. “I’ve been involved in losses and it’s tough to take as they are few and far between. We’ll give credit where it’s due and we have another chance next week.
“That’s the beauty of the schedule and we have a great squad here and we back everyone here who gets a chance to play. They put their heart out there. I can be proud of the amount of effort we put in at the end. We’ll get back on the horse and look forward to next week.”
The All Blacks will monitor Ryan Crotty’s hamstring injury and George Moala’s elbow after both were forced off during the match. Hansen said it is possible they will miss the rest of the November series.
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