Wellington - New Zealand outscored Wales to remain unbeaten in the second of the three-match Test series when they won 36-22 in Wellington on Saturday.
The win not only means that the All Blacks are 2-0 up in the
three-match Test series after winning the opening Test in Auckland last
week, but this victory also extends the All Blacks winning streak
against Wales to 27 matches, the last time New Zealand lost to Wales was
in 1953, and wraps up the series.
The home side outscored the visitors by five tries to three with
Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Waisake Naholo and Ardie Savea
getting over for the All Blacks, while it was Alun Wyn Jones, Liam
Williams and Jonathan Davies who dotted down for Warren Gatland's men.
New Zealand flyhalf Aaron Cruden added one conversion and one penalty before being stretchered off, before replacement Barrett slotted three conversions, which along with his try took his personal tally to eleven points.
In similar fashion to last week's loss, the visitors matched the
two-time world champions once again in the opening 40 with the score
level at 10-10 as the teams headed into the tunnel in Wellington.
However, like last week, it was the power of that All Blacks bench and a
step up in class which allowed the home side make amends for a rather
lacklustre first half performance.
Wales kept out a wave of resilient attacks from the All Blacks in the opening ten minutes deep inside their own half These attacks laid a solid platform for the current world champions to gain the upper hand over their opposition. However
it was the visitors who got the first points of the match when Biggar
converted a penalty which handed his side a brief 0-3 lead.
The home side applied consistent pressure inside the Wales' 22
allowing them to run with confidence within striking distance after a
well guided floating pass from scrum-half Aaron Smith to Malakai Fekitoa
before the midfielder passed to Dagg, who was playing in his 50th Test,
which allowed the full-back to dive over and with Cruden's conversion
saw the home side command a 7-3 lead.
Wales talisman Jones rounded off a well-worked move to go in for
Wales' first try on the stroke of half time, with Jonathan Davies
heavily involved during the build-up as his an overhead pass sent the
second-row, playing in his 101st Test, over the whitewash.
Biggar converted from a difficult angle as the players headed into the break with the scores locked at 10-10.
It looked like the visitors were set to score as they laid a solid
foundation in the opening ten minutes when inspirational captain Sam
Warburton turned over the ball deep inside his own half, only for a pass
to go astray which Dagg pounced on and set up an ideal attacking
position for the home side.
Ben Smith, playing in his 50th Test match, rounded off an impressive
attack which replacement flyhalf Barrett converted to give the All
Blacks a 17-10 lead.
Moments later Barrett and Naholo crashed over for their side's third
and fourth try respectively, with the fly-half only succeeding with one
of his two conversion attempts, stretching New Zealand's lead to 29-10.
It was in the build up to Barrett's try, which started deep inside
the home side's half after Smith sniped around a ruck, that the All
Blacks' attacking prowess and slick handling skills become more evident.
Despite the home side dominating the
scoreboard they were trailing in terms of the possession (44 percent)
and territory (45 percent) stats as well as making 46 passes less than
This conversion rate continued as
replacement loose forward Ardie Savea, in front of his home crowd,
finished off yet another well-worked team try and his first for New
Zealand. Barrett added the extras as the match slipped away from Wales
with the scoreboard on 29-10.
Two quick tries in succession from the visitors, Liam Williams with a
spectacular solo effort and then a score from Jonathan Davies, trimmed
the gap somewhat, including a conversion from Biggar to reduce the home
side's lead to 36-22 as the final five minutes were approaching.
The visitors' late surge was however not enough to overpower the All
Blacks' discipline on defence. However this was a much improved second
half performance by Wales compared to last week.