Scotland 3-49 New Zealand, Murrayfield, November 13
Ruthless All Blacks crush Scotland
November 13, 2010
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams stretches the Scotland defence
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New Zealand brought Scotland crashing back down to earth with a thumping 49-3 victory in their clash at Murrayfield.
Fullback Mils Muliaina - who along with captain Richie McCaw was winning an All Blacks' record-equalling 92nd Test cap - celebrated the feat with two scores in what was Scotland's heaviest home defeat at the hands of New Zealand. Winger Hosea Gear also grabbed a brace with fly-half Dan Carter, centre Conrad Smith and replacement scrum-half Andy Ellis also crossing. Carter also added five conversions in a flawless display with Stephen Donald rounding out the scoring.
Scotland fly-half Dan Parks had given the hosts an early lead but from that point on it was one-way traffic with Carter and Man of the Match Sonny Bill Williams orchestrating proceedings to keep the All Blacks on course for another Grand Slam tour.
The Scots, looking to build on a series victory over Argentina in the summer, made a lively start and an early penalty against the All Blacks at the breakdown allowed Parks to open the scores from the kicking tee. But the All Blacks responded strongly with a trademark off-load from Williams putting Isaia Toeava away down the touchline. The winger was eventually felled by the Scotland defence - but the warning has been issued.
Just a couple of minutes later scrum-half Jimmy Cowan found Williams in midfield and the former rugby league international straightened before popping a pass out the back of his hand to Gear who was able to stroll over for the opening try - converted by Carter. The All Blacks were soon pressing again and their slick handling opened up the Scots far too easily with Muliaina and Toeava combining well down the short side to put Carter away for a simple but well-worked try that he also converted.
An injection of pace from fullback Hugo Southwell sparked the subdued home crowd back into life but the threat was soon extinguished before the All Blacks resumed normal service. No.8 Keiran Read darted down the short side and cut open the Scots again before finding Carter who accelerated away from the cover defence before feeding Muliaina inside for another easy score for the visitors. Carter's conversion capped a clinical opening quarter from the world's best side.
A word of warning to McCaw from referee Dave Pearson following the latest in a series of infringements at the breakdown robbed the All Blacks of momentum and the penalty allowed the Scots to take the game into their rivals' 22 where they found the door firmly shut by the visitors.
Sadly the Scotland defence was nowhere near as water-tight. Quick ball soon found its way to Gear on half way and he cut inside before skipping through four tackles on his way to his second try. Carter added the extras to heap woe on the hosts who found themselves out of the contest with less than half an hour on the clock.
A series of messy scrums did little to rally the spirits of the home crowd but the All Blacks were more than happy with the training ground nature of the contest, although they were frustrated in their efforts to add to their tally as the Scots rediscovered some backbone in defence as the half drew to a close.
The All Blacks continued to provide all the attacking adventure after the re-start and racked up phase after phase, peppering the Scotland defence and the inevitable score eventually came. Williams was again the key link man having drawn the defence out wide before popping the ball to Muliaina who raced down the touchline to score. The difficult conversion proved no real test for Carter who sent it straight between the posts before making way for Donald.
A rare foray into the New Zealand 22 offered hope to the hosts but slow ball plagued their efforts before the All Blacks were penalised at the breakdown. The Scots opted for the scrum and exerted a fair amount of pressure before the whistle went their way again but when push came to shove it was a familiar story with the All Blacks slamming the door shut.
The game lost a little shape as the All Blacks emptied their bench on the hour mark and the Scots capitalised with their best period of pressure in the game but it was to no avail. New Zealand soon recovered their composure to conjure another try. Williams was again involved and straightened before finding lock Sam Whitelock who fed Smith for another painfully easy score - with this time Donald converting.
Errors continued to blight Scotland's best efforts but debutant Ruaridh Jackson and flanker John Barclay did combine well to make big gains in midfield in an all too rare incision into the heart of the All Blacks that came to nothing.
Even with the clock running down, New Zealand were not lacking in venom. Donald took the ball up at pace and ghosted through the Scotland line before off loading to replacement Ellis who ran in unopposed under the posts for try number seven. Donald added the extras before the referee drew a line under the contest with injured Scotland centre Max Evans a concern at the final whistle.
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Graham Jenkins is the Senior Editor of ESPNscrum.