Trailing by eight points at the interval (16-8), the All Blacks had second half tries from Mils Miliaina and Troy Flavell to end up 34-23 winners over Ireland in the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton today.
Few would argue however that the final scoreline hardly reflected the closeness of the encounter which saw the home side take the lead for the first time in the 70th minute when Luke McAllister landed a penalty for a 24-23 lead. There followed the try from Flavell which McAllister converted to help settle New Zealand nerves but in truth it wasn't until the young out-half landed another penalty that this game was beyond the Irish.
The second half opened with that Miliaina try but just as they had done in the opening minutes of the first half, when Dougie Howlett scored his try, Ireland responded with a top drawer effort when Ronan O'Gara delivered the pass for Andrew Trimble to scamper in.
IRELAND: Geordan Murphy (G Dempsey); Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Gordon D'Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan Paul O'Connell, Neil Best (M O'Driscoll), David Wallace (K Gleeson), Denis Leamy.
NEW ZEALAND: Mils Muliaina; Doug Howlett, Ma'a Nonu, Aaron Mauger, Joe Rokocoko; Luke McAlister, Byron Kelleher; Clarke Dermody, Keven Mealamu, Carl Hayman, Chris Jack, Greg Rawlinson, Marty Holah, Richie McCaw (capt), Rodney So'oialo.