All Blacks' revenge: How the world reacted

The Irish may feel aggrieved with everybody from Jaco Peyper to high tackling All Blacks -- but the international rugby media's reaction to New Zealand's win in Dublin has been: "Normal service has resumed".

Ireland's news outlets are full of outrage following the 21-9 win to the All Blacks, lacerating the South African referee, bemoaning tries-that-weren't and vilifying New Zealand's tactics.

But the less partisan media acknowledged that while Ireland had rocked Steve Hansen's team for a second time, the predicted "blacklash" post-Chicago had materialised and the All Blacks' reputation as the game's premier team had been restored, albeit in "stuttering" style.

"The long and the short of it is they are still too good," wrote Michael Aylwin in The Guardian who also noted the All Blacks sometimes revealed "their darker side" under pressure.

"A first win in 29 games is one thing, but a second in 30 was too much.

Victories against New Zealand are clearly not like buses. Ireland gave it the usual lash - certainly their performance was no comedown from the heroics of Chicago - but this time they were up against an All Black team in a very different frame of mind".

Nik Simon, writing in the Mail on Sunday, told his readers that "casting the All Blacks as losers was never going to go down well".

"After one victory in 111 years, two in a fortnight was a challenge too far for Ireland, with New Zealand stuttering back to winning ways," he told his readers.

"A second defeat threatened to send the world champions' cloak of superiority up in smoke. When Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen left Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s, their NBA empire crumbled. Rafa Nadal and Tiger Woods are more recent examples of fading fortunes - but the All Blacks dynasty lives on."

Tony Johnson talks to Tony Veitch about the bitter Irish reaction

Daniel Schofield in the London Telegraph wrote that if the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States was termed the "whitelash" then Dublin will be seen as the "blacklash".

"Two weeks after their 18-game winning run was ended, New Zealand reasserted their hegemony with a victory that was a lot less convincing than the score may have suggested," he wrote.

"Ireland dominated both territory (69 per cent) and possession (66 per cent). Yet defensively the black barricades proved impenetrable and there were enough moments of class, mainly from the majestic Beauden Barrett, to ensure that lightning would not strike twice after that first defeat in 111 years a fortnight ago."

The news outlets also lauded the quality of the test with Guardian describing it as "a fabulous match, exhausting to watch" while the Telegraph wrote "such was the unrelenting physicality of the match, you almost felt the type of guilt you would associate with viewing a blood sport".

But while there was admiration for the All Blacks toughing out the Irish challenge with "brutal" defence and "brilliant" counter-attacking skills, the international media noted New Zealand's poor discipline, challenged Beauden Barrett's try and also talked up the British and Irish Lions' chances on next year's tour.

The Guardian said the All Blacks occasionally showed "their dark side".

"The All Blacks were angry, with themselves no doubt, and their anger bounced dangerously along the edge of legality," wrote Michael Aylwin. "They were penalised again and again, even more than in Chicago when their discipline was appalling. They were lucky to be shown just the two yellow cards.

"New Zealand were not in the mood to offer up chances. Recently, they have played some of the most sublime rugby the world has ever seen, but here they were not afraid to give vent to their darker side. Regardless, what really set them apart, yet again, was their precision in the heart of the furnace."

"Ireland simply had no luck," said the Telegraph.

"Inside the first quarter they lost Jonathan Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and CJ Stander, three pillars of their victory at Soldier Field. Even if referee Jaco Peyper sent two All Blacks to the sin bin - both of which were disputed by New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen - most inside a raucous Aviva Stadium felt that most 50-50 and even a few 40-60 decisions went against Ireland, most notably in the adjudication of television match official, Jon Mason, that Barrett had grounded the ball for his try".

The Mail on Sunday said the Lions should be encouraged by Ireland's ability to rattle New Zealand.

"Warren Gatland, who was sitting in the stands, will take hope ahead of next year's British and Irish Lions crusade," wrote Nik Simon. "The All Blacks almost mastered their own downfall with shoddy discipline - but they had too much talent for lighting to strike twice."

- NZ Herald

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