Ireland 22 New Zealand 24: We deserved to win, insists Joe Schmidt
Ireland 22 New Zealand 24: Joe Schmidt feels his side deserved to beat the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday
Joe Schmidt believes his side fully deserved to end New Zealand’s winning streak despite a heart-breaking defeat at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
Aaron Cruden’s injury-time retaken conversion sealed a 24-22 win for the All Blacks – their 14th triumph in a row which ensures they will remain victorious throughout 2013.
Ireland, who have never beaten the Kiwis in 108 years of trying, led 19-0 in the first half and were 22-17 ahead as the clock expired, only for a wonderful passage of play from the world champions to end up with replacement Ryan Crotty dotting down in the corner.
That levelled the scores at 22-22 and while Cruden missed with his first attempt at the conversion, referee Nigel Owens ruled that some Irish players charged too quickly, enabling the New Zealand fly-half a second bite of the cherry to seal his side’s perfect year.
With five minutes left on the clock, Ireland fly-half Jonny Sexton had a penalty to ensure New Zealand needed two scores for victory but Schmidt refused to blame his former Leinster charge, while also admitting a draw was no good to his side.
“It was the one we were really up for,” said Schmidt, whose side will now turn their attentions to the Six Nations.
“[We] missed a penalty yeah but we got the ball back with 24 seconds to go.
“You’ve got to be prepared to defend until the final seconds and we didn’t.
“We have to live with that now. A draw would also have been a loss to us.
“We had invested in winning that game. I just felt we didn’t get the reward in the end.”