Brodie Retallick New Zealand vs Ireland, Rugby World Cup 2019: No country for old men as All Blacks’ newbies set tone for continuing dominance

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When it came down to the quick, it made no difference how inexperienced the All Blacks were. Their relative newbies humbled the Irish in a one-sided Rugby World Cup quarter-final that leaves the world champions unbeaten at the competition in 4,397 days.

For years now, the prevailing logic has been that the number of caps a team has collectively will add an edge. But in this 46-14 triumph, the All Blacks performance was an affront to that convention.   

Ireland’s starting back-line had 430 caps between them. They have put a lot of miles on the clock together over the last four years, breaking off Six Nations wins, a Grand Slam and two historic victories over the All Blacks. The hope was that finally a group like this could lead Ireland past the World Cup quarters. 

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But against them stood reigning World Champions New Zealand. Their first-choice scrum-half Aaron Smith was the only back in their listed side to ever start a World Cup knock-out match before. Their whole back-line had just 246 caps to their names. 

Yet Richie Mo’unga (14 caps before today), George Bridge (7), Jack Goodhue (11) and Sevu Reece (5) took a chainsaw to the clichés. 

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In the inquest, it will be suggested that Ireland peaked a year too soon in their preparations for this World Cup. Their 2018 was monstrous, but once again they exit a World Cup before the last four.  

What may not be brought up again is the presumption we heard after the 2015 Rugby World Cup that New Zealand would be missing something after so many experienced names left their ranks, retiring or moving abroad. How would they cope with the experience gap, it was mused. 

Certainly plenty of stock has been put into the idea of cap collection in the past. 

In the years leading up to a home World Cup in 2015, then-England head coach Stuart Lancaster spoke often of the need to build Test experience into the team. 

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