Ireland notch historic victory over New Zealand

by AFP

Ireland stunned New Zealand 40-29 on Saturday to claim a historic first-ever win over the All Blacks and end the world champions' record-breaking 18-match winning streak.

In a breathtaking upset at Soldier Field, Ireland outscored the New Zealanders by five tries to four to seal their first win over the Kiwis in the 29th meeting between the two nations dating to 1905.

Jamie Heaslip soaks up the moment after Ireland downed the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Irish were forced to hold off a ferocious New Zealand fightback in the second half, which saw the All Blacks recover from a 30-8 deficit to go within four points at 33-29.

Two days after the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year wait to win baseball's World Series, the Irish put to rest their own hoodoo as they beat the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years of trying.

The world champions had been hailed as the greatest rugby side ever before the match, after piecing together a record 18-match winning run, but that was ended when Robbie Henshaw powered over late on for Ireland's fifth try.

Ireland have beaten the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images"We just talked about attacking New Zealand," Best told BT Sport 2.

"We knew they are a great side. You can see how good a side they are and how much it means to our boys to have won that.

"We just had to go out and attack them.

"If you give them ball and stand off them they're an unbelievably dangerous outfit. I couldn't be prouder of the work we've put in over the last couple of weeks.

"It's been a long time coming and history (has been) made. We're absolutely ecstatic."

Chicago celebrated the Cubs' success by dying the river that runs through the city blue and, after securing victory in front of a packed stadium predominantly decked out in green, Best declared Ireland would now have to follow suit to mark their own historic win.

"It felt like a home game for us," he said. "I suppose we're going to have to dye the river green for this one."