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Ireland 9-21 New Zealand: Beauden Barrett admits Kiwis relieved to prevail after tetchy contest

By Nick Purewal

Published 21/11/2016

Lofty standards: All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett
Lofty standards: All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett has revealed New Zealand's "relief" at avenging their Chicago defeat by seeing off Ireland 21-9 in Dublin.

The world player of the year believes the All Blacks can now set about restoring the lofty standards that secured their record 18-match winning streak.

Fly-half Barrett's admission underscored Saturday night's tetchy contest where both sides felt referee Jaco Peyper missed a number of questionable challenges.

New Zealand were certainly ill-disciplined in conceding 14 penalties, and the irked post-match demeanour of boss Steve Hansen suggested he had expected more from his back-to-back world champions.

"I guess there's a little bit of relief," said Barrett when asked to react to New Zealand's victory, that atoned for their 40-29 loss to Ireland in Chicago.

"We're getting back to showing how much it means to us through our actions, and doing the jersey justice. That's what it was all about."

Malakai Fekitoa scored twice and was sin-binned for a high tackle on Simon Zebo, while Barrett claimed the other score.

Aaron Smith also picked up a yellow card as New Zealand were forced on to the back foot for most of the contest, with Ireland unable to convert a host of half chances.

Ireland lost Robbie Henshaw to a head injury and Johnny Sexton to a hamstring issue, while CJ Stander and Rob Kearney are further doubts after receiving concussion checks.

New Zealand lost Ben Smith to a compound fracture of the finger, and Sam Cane to an ankle issue.

Barrett insisted New Zealand had not strayed over the line with their physicality.

"It's hard getting that balance but our intent was we wanted to be physical," said Barrett. "Technique may have let us down a couple of times with the yellow cards, but it's up to the referee to make those decisions."

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