Henderson says toppling All Blacks again "reassures" Ireland

Henderson says toppling All Blacks again

"Epic stuff!" tweeted Irish rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll after Ireland's historic home win over world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

They are not quite the world's best yet, but they are close.

The first time, in Chicago in 2016, was Ireland's first win over New Zealand in 111 years.

Ireland's total now stands at 91.17 points - only 1.37 points behind the All Blacks, who celebrated an unbroken nine-year reign as the world's highest ranked team last Friday.

And Hansen appears to have made up his mind on whether he will stay on beyond that tournament in Japan, telling a media conference: "I decided before I left [New Zealand] I was going to make one [an announcement]".

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The All Blacks boss stuck to his word in the wake of Ireland's triumph, and even labelled Joe Schmidt's Ireland as the front-runners for next year's World Cup.

The home side were indebted to Sexton's kicking, Jacob Stockdale's try and an outstanding defensive resilience to restrict the All Blacks to just two penalties and a drop-goal from Beauden Barrett.

The unthinkable has happened; hell has frozen over, porcine creatures taking flight, Ireland producing just a brilliant performance, an All Blacks like performance to shut out the back to back world champions.

"I think he probably enjoyed a little bit of banter", said Schmidt. "I guess they are favourites".

"We were at home, and they were coming off a long series of games where they have travelled around the world a number of times". I thought the crowd were phenomenal tonight.

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"So if you want to make them World Cup favourites, go ahead".

With the U.S. coming to Dublin for Ireland's final November worldwide of this window, we can expect to see some of Ireland's fringe players get an opportunity on Saturday. They blew the cobwebs off against Argentina last week, and welcomed a New Zealand side that has been winning but not dominating. I don't think you can put your hand up and say: "This is the four teams that are going to be in the semi-finals".

The Munster flanker's talismanic performance of controlled fury was epitomised by a stunning steal from right under Ben Smith's nose as the All Blacks wing prepared to scoop up and score.

He said "it would be churlish to dispute. that the superpower of northern hemisphere rugby now deserves to be considered the best team on the planet". "Others can postulate who is where and who is favourite".

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