36 vs 22
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 fly-half 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 fly-half 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 Wales’ 187.
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.
NEW ZEALAND – 36
Tries: Israel Dagg (19) , Ben Smith (51), Beauden Barrett (54), Waisake Naholo (59), Ardie Savea (65)
Penalties: Aaron Cruden (29)
Cons: Aaron Cruden (21), Beauden Barrett (53,55,67)
WALES – 22
Tries: Alun Wyn Jones (39), Liam Williams (73), Jonathan Davies (76)
Penalties: Dan Biggar (16)
Cons: Dan Biggar (40,74)
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Seta Tamanivalu
Wales: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams
Date: Saturday, June 18
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Wayne Barnes (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)