The All Blacks revealed their team to take on Ireland on Sunday morning.

It was the barely believable, back-from-the-dead finish which secured the All Blacks the first unbeaten season of the professional era. But, just as relevant this week, it was also the test that began altering perceptions and ushering in a new era of Irish rugby.

Joe Schmidt didn't quite morph into Maui and hook the big fish in his first crack at the All Blacks but he couldn't have come any closer, and has since established Ireland as New Zealand's greatest threat.

Ireland's Kiwi coach said this week he is "still bleeding" from the 24-22 defeat in 2013, the one in which Dane Coles popped off his left foot and offloaded to Ryan Crotty, who finished a stunning team try in the 82nd minute.


Aaron Cruden knocked over the sideline conversion - on the second attempt - and after squandering a 22-7 halftime lead and their first win over the All Blacks, Irish hearts were again broken.

"I remember Dane did all the work and I didn't have to do anything, and since then, I've had to apologise to every Irishman I've met," Crotty said.

"It was a special year, 2013 - we went undefeated. We're excited to be back. It's a great city and it's an immensely tough opponent this weekend."

Somehow the All Blacks won the battle that day but Ireland still turned heads. It was clear they were a different team under Schmidt, capable of footing it with the world's best.

The on-field war stepped up a notch when Ireland finally ended 111 years of rugby oppression — as one local scribe put it yesterday — in Chicago in 2016.

It wasn't just the result but the manner Ireland achieved it — scoring five tries and refusing to buckle when the All Blacks launched their inevitable comeback after again trailing at the break by 15 points.