Rugby New Zealand crush abysmal Ireland as Schmidt era ends

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Ireland’s World Cup campaign came to a juddering halt as they were out-classed by New Zealand in Tokyo.

The quarter-final hammering spells the end of Joe Schmidt’s time in charge of the team after six and a half years.

It is a bitter end for Kiwi Schmidt, who had set a target of getting the team to a first-ever World Cup semi-final.

In the end they were, once again, miles off the required standard.

The game had an eerie similarity to the defeat against Argentina four years ago with Ireland finding themselves chasing a game from the early stages and rarely looking like they could make a dent in the back-to-back champions.

First-half tries from Aaron Smith (2) and Beauden Barrett killed the game as a contest, while Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett all crossed in the second half.

Robbie Henshaw managed to score when the result was beyond doubt and Ireland also worked a penalty try but to describe them as consolation would be inaccurate given the massive gap between the teams that became evident in the opening minutes.

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Ireland had come into the competition as the number one ranked team but were simply overrun by the awesome All Blacks once again.

Much had been made of the two friendly victories achieved by Joe Schmidt’s side in 2016 and 11 months ago but Ireland faced a completely different beast in this knock-out game, the second time the teams have met in a World Cup.

Ireland had 12 men who started against the world champions in 2018 in their side, while Steve Hansen had changed half his team, who began the game as 11-point favourites.

To have a chance Ireland needed everything to go right and all XV to excel.

In the end everything went wrong,

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