New Zealand 42-9 Wales, Carisbrook, June 19
Wales mauled by rampant All Blacks
June 18, 2010
Dan Carter bagged a scintillating brace for New Zealand
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New Zealand gave Carisbrook a riotous send-off by smashing Wales 42-9 thanks to a devastating second-half blitz.
In the final game played at the 102-year-old 'House of Pain', fly-half Dan Carter underlined his credentials as the world's finest by bagging 27 points including two of the All Blacks' five tries, with Keven Mealamu, Cory Jane and Richard Kahui also breaching the Welsh defence.
After a promising start Wales trailed 15-9 at the break thanks to six points from Stephen Jones and a long-range kick from Leigh Halfpenny, but they shipped 27 second-half points in a limp defensive display, which was allied to a toothless attacking effort. The tourists have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953 and have never won on New Zealand soil and there was little chance of that statistic being altered once the home side started cooking.
Having mauled an undisciplined Ireland 66-28 last weekend there was plenty of confidence in a young All Blacks side, and they proved their mettle and mental strength against a Welsh team that underlined how far they have to go prior to next year's Rugby World Cup.
Wales started brightly and pressure on Carter very nearly yielded a charge-down try for Mike Phillips before Jones showed a ruthless edge to clip over a drop-goal when Anthony Boric was turned over close to the All Blacks' 22. Handling errors blighted the early going for the home side and Wales continued in a confident vein, working through the phases deep in opposition territory.
An indifferent start by New Zealand was characterised by their opening counter-attack ending with a pass from Jane going straight into touch and they failed to level the scores when Carter's first penalty attempt sailed wide following a maul infringement from Adam Jones. There was no such error from Halfpenny moments later as he doubled Wales' advantage, the winger smashing a penalty over from inside the Welsh half.
Typically for Wales, their celebrations were short-lived as the All Blacks bit back for the opening try. A box-kick from Jimmy Cowan caused havoc in behind the tourists and following Tom Prydie's clearance the hosts struck. Cowan injected some much-needed pace into proceedings with a quick tap and as Wales scrambled Mealamu was able to crash over under the posts.
Carter converted and added a penalty minutes later as the All Blacks moved through the gears, dominating possession and finding gaps with their offloading game. Wales refused to be forced out of the arm-wrestle though and fought for every scrap of possession available, forcing the home side to make tackles with good ball retention and some willing carries from the pack.
With the All Blacks' second try Wales were taught a lesson in taking your chances. As the visitors pressed, the ball skittled from a ruck, thanks in part to an in-at-the-side Conrad Smith, and Jane snaffled it, racing away along the touchline. Wales' attacking line turned to chase and while Prydie and Ryan Jones made up the ground the skipper's featherweight cover tackle allowed Jane to skip inside and score a superb individual effort.
Jones took a chunk out of the lead with another penalty and could have made it a three-point game before the break had he converted another opportunity produced by more patient play.
Wales began the second half in solid fashion but were again forced to learn the hard way that the All Blacks cannot be counted out. A charge-down from a laboured Jones kick put massive pressure on the men in red, with Richie McCaw first to pounce. Only frantic defence saved the situation and despite winning a turnover a loose Phillips kick almost put Victor Vito in out wide following a break by Joe Rokocoko, only for the flanker to force a forward pass at the vital moment.
Tony Woodcock's introduction shored up the New Zealand scrum, an area of Welsh dominance to that point, and helped to win Carter's next shot at goal, which this time was converted with ease. Unfortunately for Wales, the fly-half was only getting started.
With the All Blacks starting to motor and Wales beginning to miss their tackles, Carter was soon dancing his way over for a 26th Test try. Rokocoko sparked the move inside his own 22, powering across the gainline to expose a massive overlap. Jane and Carter traded passes before the pivot dabbed a foot on the accelerator to slide over out wide.
Wales' misery was compounded by a missed opportunity soon after when Halfpenny's searing pace almost exploited a hack ahead from Lee Byrne. Richard Kahui, on as a replacement, did outstanding work to cover as the Cardiff winger's legs gave out at the final moment.
Carter delighted in rubbing salt in the wound with his next penalty and hammered a gleeful nail in the Welsh coffin with the All Blacks' fourth try. Wales lumbered forward again but Jones' poor game continued with a loose offload, which was pounced upon by Mealamu. What followed was pure class from Carter as he set off from his own 22, turning Byrne inside and out before showing a brilliant turn of pace to round off the score.
Kahui made hay with the fifth, cantering clean though some abysmal Welsh defence before outstripping the half-hearted cover to go in under the sticks. The final few minutes were played out at walking pace as Wales grappled with that monkey on their backs, finding little solace in the final whistle.
Huw Baines is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.