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Paddy Wallace being congratulated after scoring his try
Billy Stickland
Ireland just edged out in Wellington
6 June 2008, 8:02 am
By Pat Geraghty
A second half Ma'a Nonu try created and converted by Daniel Carter helped the All Blacks to a 21-11 victory over a brave Ireland side at a rain lashed Westpac Stadium in Wellington today.
The game was played in a downpour almost throughout and afterwards Brian O'Driscoll admitted he didn't remember playing in such cold conditions, " It was a very difficult game to play in and sometimes you were better off without the ball. " he said agreeing with his counterpart Richie McCaw that the decisive moment came with the Nonu try in the second half.

"Yeh, we had played well for the first 60 minutes but that try in the middle of the second half has us chasing the game and that's a difficult situation to be in against the All Blacks."

By that stage Ireland had the icy rain beating into their faces and Dan Carter started the move that led to the crucial score.

It was a tough game," said McCaw, " but we knew it would be. The boys had to dig deep especially in the second half. In the opening one they didn't let us get the field position so we were pretty happy to be level at the break. But as I said the boys dug deep and we took our chances in the second half."

The sides were level 8-8 at the break, Ireland's scores coming from a Ronan O'Gara penalty and a Paddy Wallace try created by O'Gara while Carter kicked a penalty for the Blacks and Sitiveni Sivivatu scored their try.

Within two minutes of the restart O'Gara had Ireland in front with a penalty but that was cancelled out two minutes later when Carter landed a similar score.

Ireland were lucky to survive in the 50th minute when Robert Kearney - who otherwise enjoyed a fine game - failed to deal with a Carter kick ahead, the ball going out of play over the line just out of the reach of an All Black hand.

Carter kicked his side into the lead with a penalty in the 60th minute and then his superb break set it up for Ma'a Nonu to score his side's second try, Carter's conversion leaving Ireland trailing by ten (21-11).

O'Gara was inches short with a 69th minute penalty into the driving rain and the home side enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the closing stages to earn a deserved victory.

Ireland: R Kearney; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll capt, P Wallace, T Bowe; R O'Gara, E Reddan (P Stringer 71 min); M Horan (T Buckley 62 min), J Flannery (R Best 53 min), J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; D Leamy, D Wallace, J Heaslip (S Jennings (72 min).

New Zealand: M Muliaina; A Tuitavake (L MacDonald 50 min), C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu; D Carter, A Ellis; N Tialata, A Hore (K Mealamu 55 min), J Afoa (J Schwalger 35 min), B Thorn, A Williams, R So'oialo (A Thomson 43 min temp), R McCaw capt, J Kaino.

Referee : Chris White (England).

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