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A New Zealand XV dominated Ireland ‘A’ in their game at The RDS on Friday night, running out easy 47-19 winners.
The visitors scored three tries in the opening half to Ireland’s one, while in the second period four more seven pointers to the home side’s two ensured a comfortable victory for the New Zealand XV.
The opening score of the game came from New Zealand winger Shaun Stevenson. The ball was delicately kicked forward by The Chiefs’ Damian McKenzie and collected comfortably by Stevenson who easily breached the Irish defence for a try. McKenzie took his time over the conversion, but successfully kicked it to give his side a 7-0 advantage.
New Zealand soon doubled their score when a forceful drive from their pack saw Ireland ‘A’ on the retreat and unable to protect their line. Hooker Brodie McAlister touched down for the five points, before McKenzie again added the extras for a 14-0 lead with just over 20 minutes on the clock.
The dominance of the visitors was again evident moments later when the pacy winger Stevenson claimed his second try of the night in the corner. Despite Irish efforts, they failed to live with his speed and strength as he increased his team’s score. Kicker Damian McKenzie missed his first kick of the game as his conversion attempt veered slightly to the right of the posts and wide.
The hosts finally got on the scoreboard approaching half-time. Following arguably Ireland’s best spell of the game, Leinster’s Ciarán Frawley touched down directly under the posts. This left the Skerries clubman with an easy conversion which he slotted over. It removed the zero from the Irish side of the scoreboard and saw the teams head to the dressing rooms with New Zealand holding a 19-7 lead.
Half-time: Ireland ‘A’ 7 New Zealand XV 19
Early second half try
Some of the crowd weren’t even in their seats at the beginning of the second half when New Zealand struck. Stevenson’s powerful run along the wing saw him pass to TJ Perenara who quickly set fullback Ruben Love off on his charge for the line. Kicking from an easy position in front of the posts, Damian McKenzie added on the two points. New Zealand were 26-7 ahead and with less than one minute of the second half played.
Crusaders’ centre Braydon Ennor soon got in on the scoring act as he split the Irish defence to extend his team’s advantage. With the extras added by McKenzie, the home side crossed the try line for only the second time in the game when Marty Moore emerged from a pack of bodies to claim a try. Replacement Jack Crowley missed the conversion attempt, leaving Ireland ‘A’ on 12 points.
Auckland Blues’ AJ Lam scored another New Zealand try shortly afterwards and with McKenzie kicking well, the All Blacks were 40-12 in front with 17 minutes remaining in the game.
New Zealand’s number 10 McKenzie scored and converted a try inside the final ten minutes of the game, his team’s last score of the game. The RDS crowd was unhappy with the five pointer as an earlier pass in the movement seemed to have been forward. The score stood however and it pushed the scoreline out to 47-12.
Ireland replacement Max Deegan got his side’s second try of the second half, and third of the game, when he burrowed over to score. Jack Crowley was successful on this occasion with the conversion to bring Ireland ‘A’ to 19 points on the night.
Final score: Ireland ‘A’ 19 New Zealand XV 47