Click here for post-match reaction from both camps following Saturday’s 45-7 win for the All Blacks at Lansdowne Road.
Ireland’s Denis Leamy tries to break past the challenges of Leon MacDonald (left) and Doug Howlett (right)
MATCH REACTION: IRELAND 7 NEW ZEALAND 45
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan: “There is a gulf in skill between ourselves and New Zealand. They were outstanding and probably better than they thought they would be on the day.
“We said before the game they’re the best team in the world and they’ve reinforced that for everyone else.
“Their only problem is the World Cup is not for another two years yet. But they have so much competition for places and that’s a nice problem to have.”
“New Zealand dominated possession through the set-piece and had an inordinate amount of feeds into the lineout and scrum. It was round about 20-6 on the set-piece count at half-time.
“They took advantage of that by not kicking, instead running incessantly. The tackle count in the first half was what it would have been for a normal game. They’re big, skilful, athletic and by the end of the game we were punch drunk.
“We kept plugging away though. We could have thrown in the towel when we were 25-0 down at half-time but we kept at it. We had more ball in the second half and created some chances. I was disappointed we didn’t score more tries.
“We took a lot of punishment and it was a long day at the office.”
New Zealand coach Graham Henry: “We played superbly. A lot of those players haven’t played Test match football but they put their hands up.
“They’ll feel very pleased with themselves and this will create a huge amount of competition for places, which is a good headache to have.
“Our objective is to have two teams so that when we get an injury come World Cup time we have a player with Test experience ready to step in. We’re delighted by today’s performance.”
Ireland lock and record caps holder Malcolm O’Kelly: “We didn’t get any possession in the first half and they were 20 points up before we had any real opportunity to score.
“When they’re that far ahead they can play glamorous rugby and when that happens we’re in trouble. By half-time it was all over and after that it was a case of trying to give a performance worthy of an Irish team.
“We stood up in the second half and started pushing things and eventually the try came with Marcus Horan going over. The lads deserved it.
“New Zealand were more physical than we were. They are really big guys and big ball carriers who can offload and run the right lines.
“They’re used to breaking tackles and then giving off passes. Physically they’re bigger than us.
“But they’re not just stronger – every one of their players is dangerous and can score tries from anywhere so we were chasing shadows at times.”
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw: “It wasn’t easy out there. It was a tough battle and there was a lot of passion from both teams. We played pretty well, we put them under pressure and scored points when we needed to.
“The boys coming off feel like they’ve been in a game.
“There were a couple of times when we could have shown a bit more composure at lineout time, which was more from knowing we had Ireland on the ropes and we rushed things a bit.
“That was probably the fault of myself but we need to be calm there and not let other teams do it to us. Maybe that’s just being picky.”
Ireland winger Anthony Horgan: “To think that they can come out, change their team completely and play like that – it’s scary.
“We’ve a lot to learn before next week (and Australia). It won’t be a quiet week anyway. Some of the things we tried in training during the week just didn’t come off today.”
Ireland debutant flanker Neil Best: “It was great to come on and make my international debut against the All Blacks but by then the damage was done.
It was hard to play without the ball – so most of the match was played defending and we were, for the most part, defending. However I enjoyed the whole occasion.
“I’m delighted I got my chance and hopefully I’ll get some more time in the matches ahead.”
Ireland winger Tommy Bowe: “It was very tough for us. They just seemed to have numbers all over the park – it was such a huge step up for me.
“I was relatively happy with how we defended, but they are just so clinical and if you give them a sniff of the try line, most of the time they take it.
“It’s just that they’re so physical and very strong. We tried to match them and at stages we did, but we made a few silly mistakes and they punished us.”