A Dan Carter penalty with 30 seconds left on the clock gave the All Blacks a 22-19 win over Ireland in Christchurch
By any stretch of the imagination it was a superb Irish performance and one that deserved at the very least a share of the spoils. That they didn't manage that, or an outright victory that no-one could have quibbled with, hung on a decision by Nigel Owens
to penalise the Irish scrum at a put in deep in All Black territory.
At that stage, with the score tied 19-19, the home side - down to 14 after Israel Dagg earned a deserved yellow card - to put it mildly were seriously rattled. Owens awarded the penalty against Ireland but in truth it could have just as easily gone the other way.
Carter kicked his side upfield, the Blacks won and drove into the Irish 22 and remained there to give Carter the opportunity to land the winner.
From the start Ireland were never less than competitive and combatative. They weathered an early Blacks storm and when a cracking Johnny Sexton clearance and his subsequent penalty earned Ireland a five metre lineout a Donncha Ryan take set up the ruck and Conor Murray snipped brilliantly to open the scoring. Sexton added the conversion and a penalty after to establish a 10 point lead.
Dan Carter opened the Blacks account with a penalty in the 22nd minute, followed that with a second seven minutes later and a third in the 33rd minute left them trailing by a single point.
He had an opportunity with the last kick of the half to put his side in front but his effort from distance dropped short.
An early second half Aaron Smith try converted by Carter put the Blacks in front but Ireland never allowed them wrest control.
Carter and Sexton contributed the rest of the points, Carter having the final say but he and his teammates will know they dodged a bullet. But only just.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw capt, Kieran Read.Replacements: Hika Elliot, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Sam Cane, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O'Driscoll capt, Gordon D'Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Dan Tuohy, Donnacha Ryan; Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Sean Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Donncha O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O'Gara, Simon Zebo.