Back came New Zealand. It took a brilliant turn-over by Sheehan to disrupt another All Blacks attack from another attack from a chip kick before a wide pass by Ioane put Savea over for their second try from a penalty advantage.
Yet the momentum swung back in Ireland’s favour once Smith was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on and it was his opposite number who took advantage with a brilliant dummy from a driving maul.
It felt critical that Ireland strike again to take the lead while Smith was still off, but the game management was just not on point. Twice Ireland kicked wide, having tightened the All Blacks’ defence first to Peter O’Mahony and then Sheehan but twice the receivers couldn’t hold.
Another flowing Ireland attack from a turn-over ball was then critically disrupted when Savea and Cane combined to win the penalty at the breakdown.
And having weathered the storm, New Zealand bared their teeth again, slicing the Ireland defence open with a brilliant break by Mo’unga from off the top line-out ball before putting Jordan over for a brilliant try. It looked decisive.
Ireland for the first time in the tournament, looked rattled. Sexton missed a penalty to cut the deficit and then made a strange decision to try to chase his own chip. A wide pass was intercepted by Smith.
It was critical for Ireland to score next. And remarkably, the found the ability to raise their game again, with the bench making a powerful impact with Joe McCarthy leading the way. Sexton kicked a penalty to the corner and a rolling maul was illegally pulled down. Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try and sent Codie Taylor to the sin bin.
Back to a one-point game, the question was now whether New Zealand could hold on. Once again they managed the time smartly and critically Jodie Barrett was able to extend the lead to four points with his second penalty just moments after a miss.
Back came Ireland, with another driving maul from a penalty to the corner spinning over the All Black line, with Jodie Barrett holding up Kelleher to prevent what seemed a certain try.
Ireland showed tremendous resolve and precision in mounting one last attack, but they could not find a way through. Sweet revenge for New Zealand.
Scoring sequence: 0-3 Mo’unga pen, 0-6 J Barrett pen, 0-11 Fainga’anuku try, 0-13 Mo’unga con, 3-13 Sexton pen, 8-13 Aki try, 10-13 Sexton con, 10-18 Savea try, 15-18 Gibson-Park try, 17-18 Sexton con, 17-23 Jordan try, 17-25 J Barrett con, 24-25 penalty try, 24-28 J Barrett pen