Ireland will be frustrated with their result, but cannot blame end of season fatigue for losing to New Zealand in Eden Park, according to former Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan.
Andy Farrell's side endured a 42-19 defeat to New Zealand in the fortress of Eden Park on Saturday. It was the 47th consecutive win for the All Blacks in the Auckland stadium since 1994.
While Ireland started well, scoring early through Keith Earls, they could not keep the hosts from taking full control of proceedings shortly afterwards.
The result was a reversal of fortunes from the last time the two sides met. Ireland beat New Zealand in Dublin in November last year, in a match where the long season seemed to have taken it's toll on the All Blacks.
However, now that the shoe is on the other foot, Alan Quinlan does not agree that Ireland's loss can be completely blamed on end of season fatigue.
Speaking live from Eden Park in Auckland, Quinlan discussed New Zealand's reaction to that defeat in the Aviva last November.
"It was always going to be physical," Quinlan said. "It was always going to be a difficult task. The impact off the bench for New Zealand was pretty telling.
"I think they've got to pick themselves up mentally. They will be a bit bruised and battered. Not surprisingly, there was a big, angry and aggressive response.
"They were under so much pressure here in New Zealand, the coaches and the players alike. They showed that energy that was needed and were pretty ruthless in some of the tries they scored."
'They haven't played a huge amount of games'
While the temptation is there to blame the 'end of season fatigue' for Ireland's loss of composure as the match wore on, Quinlan was did not fully agree with it.
He admitted that the fatigue was more of a factor for the All Blacks in November than it would have been for Andy Farrell's side in Auckland.
"I think their tour at the end of the year was probably more telling for them from COVID," Quinlan said. "They were away for a long time playing the Rugby Championship as well.
"Of course, there is going to be a bit of fatigue. But the Irish players are pretty well looked after. They haven't played a huge amount of games this year.
"Not like the French players. So, I don't think that will be an excuse, that they weren't fresh. The travelling down here, playing away from home is always going to be difficult.
"New Zealand losing those two games in November and the pressure they were under, they were always going to come out and react.
"For Ireland to win this game, they would have had to get a near-perfect performance. In November we saw a near-perfect performance, but unfortunately tonight they made mistakes.
"They made bad read defensively, and they got punished for that."
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