Ireland made history in New Zealand with a stunning 32-22 win in Wellington to complete a 2-1 series win.
The epic triumph drew tears and cheers from players who enjoyed every moment of the historic occasion.
The Boys in Green only won in New Zealand for the first time last weekend.
They bounced back from a 42-19 thrashing in Auckland’s opener to triumph 23-12 at Dunedin and set up the decider.
And the clash in Wellington couldn’t have started better with Andy Farrell’s men trailing 19 points at the break thanks to a spellbinding display that earned tries from Josh Van Der Flier, Hugo Keenan and Robbie Henshaw.
But the All Blacks went within three points in a breathless second half thanks to scores from Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane and Will Jordan, before Rob Herring crossed to help tourists home on a historic evening .
Members of Ireland’s triumphant squad were pictured in tears full time as they savored arguably the greatest result in their country’s history.
Captain Johnny Sexton, who turned 37 on Monday, scored 12 points, becoming the second man to top 1,000 in a green jersey.
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Head Coach Farrell had expressed hope that his team had retained their best performance for the final test.
The Englishman duly granted his wish in a phenomenal 40-minute opener full of power and intensity before the Irish suffered a storm in the second half, intensified by the loss of prop Andrew Porter to a yellow card , to win the series 2-1.
“They are a special group,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s probably the hardest thing to do in world rugby.
“We dusted ourselves off and came here with a task in hand and went for it from the start, which is great.
“We said it would be the start of our World Cup year but, I don’t know, it’s probably a bit bigger than that.”
And with Ireland now top of the table, confidence is high and Farrell believes they can beat anyone in the world.
“They already believe it because they keep coming and surprising me, definitely,” he said.
“The peloton is just tight. They knew there was a better performance in them (after the first two tests) and there was definitely for the first 40 (minutes).
“These guys have won a lot and broken records – this one will be the best I would have thought.”
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