The All Blacks paid for their arrogance on a magnificent day for test rugby, as Ireland's historic victory made many of us wish that we had somehow got to Chicago.

What an arena and what a game, test rugby at its dramatic best, a few too many stoppages aside. The year of sporting drought-breaking keeps on giving.

There's a new rugby rivalry in town. First Dublin 2013. Now this. Forget England. Forget the Lions. The hottest rugby ticket is New Zealand versus Ireland, and who can wait for the Dublin re-match. Ireland are an excellent chance to make it two in a row.

The arrogance I refer to was the selection of halfback Aaron Smith, whose performance was at the heart of the problems.


And the stupidity of selecting him ahead of TJ Perenara, whose form and all round game was made for the physical threat that Ireland posed, came across as a two-fingered salute to those suggesting the pecking order was, remarkably, under challenge. It didn't give enough credence to the Irish threat either.

Ireland were stunning in every regard - the game plan, composure and on-field decision making. They won so many of the individual battles.

The scoreboard, 27 losses and a draw, was awful but masked luckless episodes including the final match-turning penalty against prop Jack McGrath in 2013. McGrath was one of Ireland's standouts in Chicago.

Indeed, Barry McGann - who missed the wide conversion which consigned Ireland to a frustrating draw in 1973 - swears in a book on Irish rugby that his kick was good.

But a sweet victory has arrived, made even sweeter by the manner of Ireland's win, led by decisions from captain Rory Best which kept a revamped All Black side under pressure.

Halves Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton were close to perfect, and in scoring one of Ireland's five tries, Murray fooled Smith with a dummy that will only add to the horrible haunting feeling the little All Black halfback will be left with from 2016.

Smith should never have started. His large and well deserved fan club, including the All Black bosses, trot out the line that he is the world's best halfback as gospel. It isn't, not when Perenara offers such class and variety.

Smith will rise again, but this was not the time for his immediate re-introduction. His head was clearly not in the right place, although he made a couple of good, low covering tackles. The pass master Smith's running game has long deserved questioning.

Perenara added immediate impact from the 45th minute, made a genius catch for a try, and his superior physicality to Smith's was easy to spot.

If Steve Hansen and co. are going to simply pen Smith's name in automatically, they are missing an important horses for courses game,

Smith let his side down with a gross act of unprofessionalism, when he got willing and able with a woman in a Christchurch Airport disabled toilet.

His replacement did a brilliant job, didn't let his team down, and was made for the Chicago assignment. Perenara was betrayed by the selectors. ​