Opinion: New Zealand shatter Ireland dreams in Paris

A fantastic test match was witnessed last Saturday night. Two teams whose skill set and conditioning were sensational. New Zealand prevail. Ireland left to contemplate what might have been.

New Zealand won this contest on the opening quarter cameo. As expected and predicted in our preview, they came out on fire.

Their line speed, physicality and execution on point. The opening try showed ingenuity and ruthless execution. A thirteen point gap established. Fine margin test matches are decided on those cameos early.

Ireland struggled on set piece at key times. Barnes took issue with Porter’s scrummaging. Lineout malfunctions. With the set piece misfiring, kudos to the team for keeping in the fight.

Ireland showed massive resiliency. Thirteen and eight point gaps emerged but they kept fighting. Three tries scored and others left behind. Barrett try saver on Kelleher pivotal. Aki immense.

Work rate was beyond reproach from Ireland but the occasion and magnitude of the reward stifled Ireland’s performance.

The mental approach to marquee fixtures needs to be seriously assessed now. Players struggled to keep their emotions in check during the anthems.

There were uncharacteristic unforced errors at key stages. Will Jordan try off first phase. Defensive misreads. Uncharacteristically loose.

New Zealand were worthy winners. They executed better in the key moments. Their attacking precision when given opportunities was the difference here.

Their breakdown work immense. They refused to give Ireland any easy quick ruck ball. Frizzell, Cane led the charge. Savea awesome on both sides of the ball.

There is no bad New Zealand team when it comes to the World Cup. New Zealand see quarter finals as a building stone to final greatness.

For Ireland, quarter finals are the Mount Everest. A fixture filled with peril and the quarter finals record speaks volumes. Historical disappointment.

Mental scars will remain for Ireland until a win is secured at this stage of the competition. When will that happen? You have to go out and deliver.

World Cup quarter finals are about elevating your performance to new levels. Can you execute to a higher level than before? Can you run that one new play that will take you over the line?

Ireland unfortunately came up short. No disgrace in losing last night. It is the end of the road for this current squad. The squad reset starts now. Sexton and Earls retire and others will follow suit.

Ireland must reset and learn from last night. New players will come into the setup. World Cup 2027 is now the next target. Forget 6N. World Cups are the pinnacle.

New Zealand delivered when it mattered. They won this game playing with fourteen men for twenty minutes. Resiliency, bravery and determination shown with panache with ball in hand at key stages.

An incredible test. New Zealand look to a last four fixture while Ireland players and management team pack their bags for home. Sport is cruel. World Cup playoffs even crueler.

It will take time for Ireland to get over this loss. This one will hurt for players, management and supporters. This one has to galvanise the team to improve even further.

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