Justin Marshall is a former All Blacks halfback and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Justin Marshall: It hurts to be on the wrong end of history

As a former All Black, it's never easy analysing and talking about an All Black loss, but it's part of the game and it happens, albeit rarely.

As a player, I was involved in test losses and none feel good. History-making ones are worse.

They have a significant effect on you.

I knew when I ran out on to the field what had happened before me, in terms of results and records, and I felt protective of that.

This All Blacks team will feel twice as hurt as a result. History has been made and not in a good way for them; their first loss in 111 years to Ireland.

I can't fault Ireland's intent or game plan. They thoroughly deserved to win. They came out with intent and that's not always easy when you're at a neutral venue.

Then, you might be tempted to contain the All Blacks, but they came out to play and take on the All Blacks from the first whistle.

And, boy, they did it well. Their scrum and lineout were good, and their kicking game very good. They won the aerial contest, which is a rare thing against this All Blacks team.

They turned down kickable penalties to continue to apply pressure; their attitude was the opposite of containment, it was super positive.

From the All Blacks' perspective, they weren't helped by the injuries at lock before the test or in the midfield during it, there's no doubt about that. But, in the past, they have brought on players who changed the game, and that didn't happen yesterday.

The All Blacks made many defensive errors. I don't know the last time they conceded five tries, and that obviously had a significant effect on the scoreboard. Their discipline wasn't great and they weren't at their fluent best. When you look at it in summary, and statistically, the All Blacks were completely outplayed.

They won't want to change their game too much, but they do have to change their attitude. Defence is often about that and skipper Kieran Read saying afterwards that he wasn't sure their attitude was there is a bit of a worry.

They're now going to be tested in terms of their depth, one area where they have been so successful recently. It looks like a few players are heading home, including Ryan Crotty and George Moala, so the All Blacks will be tested again over the next few weeks, as they were yesterday.

I think they will bounce back. I arrived at Soldier Field for the test and I thought Ireland would get beaten by 20 points. It would be arrogant of me to say they will win in Rome, but Italy could feel the brunt.

But isn't it a shame next week isn't a rematch against Ireland? Instead, they will get a fortnight before having to face them again and, amazing as it is to say, that's a good thing from a New Zealand perspective.

- NZ Herald

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Justin Marshall is a former All Blacks halfback and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Justin Marshall played 81 test matches for the All Blacks, including four as captain. The halfback made his debut in 1995 against France and ended his career 10 years later with a series sweep over the British and Irish Lions. He won five Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, playing 105 games for the franchise. He commentates for Sky Television.

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