RUGBY REACTION: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen happy to leave Dublin with a win

New Zealand perform the Haka before playing Ireland
New Zealand perform the Haka before playing Ireland

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen hailed New Zealand’s resolve in avoiding a second-successive defeat to the Irish.

Ireland bossed territory and possession but failed to repeat their Chicago heroics as they lost 21-9 to an ill-disciplined New Zealand in Dublin.

Joe Schmidt’s side failed to convert a host of half-chances to add to the historic 40-29 win they achieved over New Zealand in the United States a fortnight ago, letting the All Blacks off the hook at the Aviva Stadium.

New Zealand had Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa sin-binned while conceding 14 penalties but still managed to escape with the win.

Centre Fekitoa plundered two tries to add to his yellow card, with world player of the year Beauden Barrett back on form to claim a score of his own.

Ireland boasted 67 per cent possession and 70 per cent territory, but only wound up with three penalty goals to show for it.

The All Blacks were stung by their first-ever defeat to Ireland at Soldier Field. While New Zealand are hardly back on form, they did sneak out of Dublin with the win.

In the wake of that Soldier Field defeat, Hansen insisted New Zealand had turned up with the right mental focus in Chicago.

But having seen off the Irish in the rematch, the All Blacks head coach finally accepted his side had failed to offer the right mindset in the United States.

“I think we turned up with the right attitude for a start,” said Hansen when quizzed on the differences between Chicago and Dublin.

“I think in Chicago we turned up five per cent off mentally, and we got punished for it.

“Whilst we had a very poor kicking game in Chicago we had a better one today.

“To kick like a forward pass to the wingers changed their defensive shape a wee bit.

“There’s a couple of good things that Ian Foster worked on in the week with the backs.”