Everything you need to know about Wales’ tour of South Africa
All the dates, venues, squad news, key stats and much more as Wayne Pivac’s team prepare to take on the mighty Springboks
It took Ireland’s men more than a century to beat New Zealand, but that famous win in Chicago in 2016 has since been followed by two more.
The most recent of those came at the Aviva Stadium in November, when tries from James Lowe, Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris secured a 29-20 triumph.
Andy Farrell’s Ireland have therefore travelled to New Zealand full of hope that they can now end the country’s wait for a test victory against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
Should they do so then they could climb above their hosts in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini. The teams begin the series third and fourth respectively, with only 0.53 rating points separating them.
🎥 "We're glad to be here, we’ve had a few days’ training and we’re up and running."— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) June 25, 2022
Head Coach Andy Farrell spoke to media following today's squad session at North Harbour in Auckland ⬇️#TeamOfUs | #NZTour2022 pic.twitter.com/wfEzK0KnyT
The series will kick off on 2 July at Eden Park, which will also host matches during Rugby World Cup 2021, including the opening day, bronze final and final. Seven days later the action heads south to Dunedin, where the teams will meet at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Ireland’s three-test tour of New Zealand will come to an end on 16 July when they play the All Blacks at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Yes, 117 years of it. Ireland first played New Zealand at Lansdowne Road on 25 November, 1905 and were beaten 15-0 by the ‘Originals’ as Bob Deans (twice) and Alex McDonald scored tries.
The teams met another six times across the next 69 years, all in Dublin, with the All Blacks winning five and the other ending in a 10-10 draw.
Ireland played the All Blacks for the first time in New Zealand in 1976, when the hosts won 11-3 at Athletic Park in Wellington.
New Zealand remained unbeaten in the fixture for 111 years, until 2016, when tries from Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Robbie Henshaw helped secure a 40-29 win for Ireland in Chicago.
Having waited so long to taste victory in the fixture, the Irish have since won two of the subsequent four matches against the All Blacks. They are yet to win in New Zealand, however.
Although Ireland and New Zealand have competed at all nine men’s Rugby World Cups to date, they have only faced each other twice at the showpiece tournament.
Their first meeting came at RWC 1995, when the sides had been drawn alongside each other in Pool C. Gary Halpin scored the opening try of the match at Ellis Park but the All Blacks recovered well and built a 20-12 lead by half-time.
Second-half tries from Jonah Lomu, his second of the match, Josh Kronfeld and Glen Osborne helped New Zealand see out a 43-19 win.
It took 24 years for their paths to cross again at Rugby World Cup, as they took to Tokyo Stadium to contest the second quarter-final at RWC 2019.
Aaron Smith scored two of the All Blacks’ seven tries in Japan’s capital city as New Zealand secured their passage to the last four with a 46-14 victory.
Ireland last travelled to New Zealand in June 2012 when they played tests at Eden Park, Rugby League Park in Christchurch and Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium.
A Julian Savea hat-trick helped the All Blacks to a 42-10 win in the opening match in Auckland, however, Ireland provided a much tougher challenge in the second test.
Johnny Sexton’s fourth penalty of the match levelled the scores at 19-19 in Christchurch and the hosts needed a last-minute Dan Carter drop goal to edge it 22-19.
The final match of the series proved a step too far for the Irish, who conceded nine tries to lose 60-0 in Hamilton. The margin of defeat was and remains the biggest suffered by Ireland against New Zealand.
New Zealand have won 29 of their 33 meetings with Ireland, losing three and drawing one back in 1973.
That does not mean the All Blacks will have it all their own way in July, though. Ireland’s three victories have each come in the previous five matches between the sides.
Having proved they can beat the All Blacks on neutral ground and at home, Ireland will now want to end their long wait for a win in New Zealand.
Earlier this month, All Blacks coach Ian Foster selected a 36-player squad that included six potential debutants.
Uncapped forwards Aidan Ross and Pita Gus Sowakula were picked alongside backs Folau Fakatava, Stephen Perofeta, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Leicester Fainga’anuku, who could all win their first test cap in July.
Ireland, meanwhile, arrived in New Zealand with a 40-player squad. Five members of the squad, Cian Healy, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, captain Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls were part of the last Irish team that toured New Zealand a decade ago.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, Ciaran Frawley, Joe McCarthy, Jimmy O’Brien, Jeremy Loughman and Cian Prendergast could all make their test debut next month.
Munster hooker Niall Scannell, meanwhile, has been drafted into the squad as injury cover.