By David Hendy
Ireland followed their narrow 22-19 loss against last week by suffering their heaviest defeat against the All Blacks with a shocking scoreline of 60-0 to the home side.
New Zealand scored nine tries in total, four in the first half and five after the interval. Flanker Sam Cane, centre Sonny Bill Williams with two, and wing Ben Smith scored tries for the All Blacks inside the first 23 minutes.
Crane added another try along with Hosea Gear, Liam Messam, Israel Dagg and Adam Thomsons to finish the rout of the Irish.
New Zealand were without star fly-half Dan Carter as he was replaced by Waikato player Aaron Cruden, whose instrumental play in the first 25 minutes was key to the quick start form the home side. Cruden was replaced after 25 minutes because of injury and Beauden Barrett came on to the field.
After four tries, three of which converted, and one penalty, New Zealand led the match 29-0 at half time and were seeking a record-breaking display to send the Irish home after suffering a whitewash series defeat.
The second half saw the World Champions increase the tempo and give Ireland a master class in dominating a rugby match. New Zealand bolstered their lead by scoring a further five tries, three of which converted, to dominate over the Irish and seal a 60-0 victory.
The test series has been a disappointing one for the Irish after losing all their matches. The first and third matches were whitewash defeats however the second match, the Irish showed a lot of fight and determination but were undone by a sloppy drop-goal by Carter.
This series has demonstrated that Ireland have a lot to work on over the next few years before World Cup 2015. Some of their more experienced players, such as Ronan O’Gara, Brian O’Driscoll, Donncha O’Callaghan and Paul O’Connell, are all coming towards the end of their careers and will struggle to make the Irish World Cup squad next time round.
Now is the time for Ireland to consider their long-term future and invest the time and money in nurturing the young talent and slowly integrating them into the national side, a tactic Wales have adopted and has seen them rise from the ashes to claim a Grand Slam victory this year and narrowly lose to Australia on three occasions in their tests this summer.
Ireland are a good team, but to compete with the top three in the world, personnel and tactical changes need to be made.
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