New Zealanders praise Schmidt for outsmarting All Blacks

Past World Cups have been a "hurt arena" for Ireland, and not remotely in the rousing sense of the phrase memorably contributed by Andy Farrell, their English defence coach, to the British & Irish Lions' series win in 2013.

Hansen is expected to stand down after next year's tournament in Japan, with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt the leading contender to take over.

An All Black side built on attack, off loads, broken play brilliance, we had nothing, they shut us down, they tackled like demons.

He said "it would be churlish to dispute. that the superpower of northern hemisphere rugby now deserves to be considered the best team on the planet".

"You've got to have structure and you've got to have balance and we've got guys reacting to situations and sometimes that's just going out of your structure and just playing what's in front of you and I think we're still trying to find that balance. We want to be as good as we can be".

One key element In Ireland's vast improvement over the past few years is the appointment of head coach Joe Schmidt, who is a New Zealand man himself.

The wider implications could be profound. The 53-year-old is expected to make an announcement regarding his future with Ireland once the November Tests are done and his coaching CV increasingly speaks for itself. Peter O'Mahony, Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and the young James Ryan were all massively influential and Schmidt still has Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Robbie Henshaw and Dan Leavy to come back.

There was a twinkle in Jacob Stockdale's eye as he considered the question. The All Black cover was wrong-footed as Schmidt had hoped and the prolific Ulster wing's precise chip and impressive pace completed the heist. "I can't take too much of the credit; it was a training ground move and it paid off massively".

Then again, we're very familiar with the sight of Stockdale scoring - that's his 12th try in 14 Tests - but this could be the sweetest one yet.

"Being able to beat New Zealand again gives us reassurance that we are continuing to better ourselves".

The game began with the same ferocious physicality as the sides' last meeting two years ago when the world champions gained revenge for Chicago with a bruising win in Dublin.

  • Stacy Allen