NZ Herald

rugby writer

Patrick McKendry

runs through the winners and losers from the All Blacks' 16-9 loss to Ireland.

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Forward of the week:

Peter O'Mahony

A phenomenal effort from a player who lasted only 63 minutes but whom must be considered the man of the match. O'Mahony was everywhere and into everything and his turnovers as the All Blacks attacked knocked the stuffing out of them. One of the best "tight" loose forwards in the world.

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Back of the week:

Jacob Stockdale

They are regarded as one of the more cautious teams in the game, but Ireland can do razzle dazzle too. It took a moment of individual brilliance to win this most intense of tests and it came from left wing Stockdale, who kicked and regathered for a stunning try.

Coach killer:

Kieran Read

Spoiled an attacking scrum early in second half with a poor pass to Beauden Barrett and then, minutes later, knocked on after a charge down with Jack Goodhue in the clear. He doesn't seem quite right but his back surgery meant this was always going to be a challenging year for him.

Ireland's Iain Henderson with All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Photosport
Ireland's Iain Henderson with All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Photosport

Ups

Ireland

Wow, what a performance from a team who look the complete package. They appeared to have a better balance on attack than the All Blacks who, conversely, always looked short of time and space. And their defence was incredible. They will be a huge World Cup threat.

Wayne Barnes

Barnes has become one of the best referees in the game due to his feel for it and the way he communicates with the players. He appears to have empathy and strikes the right tone – relaxed but not too relaxed so that he loses authority. A nod, too, to the TMO who made the right call in over-ruling Rob Kearney's "try".

Downs

All Blacks attack

It fizzed a bit against England last week – one try to England's two – and went wrong again in Dublin, although several opportunities were created. This is a concern because these defensive strategies will be used by the top teams at next year's World Cup. There is something not quite right with that All Black backline.

All Blacks kicking game

This could be summed up as: Too much kicking in the wrong places. One thing, in particular, should be drummed home to the All Blacks – do not kick on turnovers. Build pressure instead and something will happen. Ireland taught them a lesson here this week after England did last week.