Wales 10-33 New Zealand

 

WALES (0) 10

  • Try: S Williams, Cuthbert

NEW ZEALAND (23) 33

  • Try: Messam, Woodcock, Romano
  • Con: Cruden 3
  • Pens: Cruden 4

New Zealand's 59-year stranglehold over Wales stretched to a 25th successive victory as the world champions crushed the Grand Slam holders in Cardiff.

The All Blacks stretched their own unbeaten run to 20 Tests and condemned their hosts to a sixth straight defeat in ruthless fashion.

Aaron Cruden landed three penalties and converted tries by Liam Messam and Tony Woodcock to give New Zealand a 23-0 half-time lead.

Cruden's fourth penalty and a Luke Romano try made it 33-0 before Wales salvaged some pride with tries from Scott Williams and Alex Cuthbert.

The Six Nations champions belatedly shook off the torpor of their last two performances against Argentina and Samoa, with several players showing signs of rediscovering their true selves in a far spikier second-half effort.

GATLAND ON DAVIES INJURY

"From the initial look at the video, Bradley's been hit from behind and he's gone down. That's something the citing commissioner can have a look at, but I haven't had a good look at it. I'll be disappointed [if it was foul play] because he's a key player for us. He's not in great shape at the moment but fingers crossed it's not too bad."

They will now be desperate to salvage a victory from their final Test of the autumn series against Australia next Saturday, while the All Blacks march on to Twickenham looking to complete another clean sweep on their European travels.

Already without 10 injured players ahead of the game, Wales lost three more inside the opening quarter, two inside the first two minutes.

Lock Bradley Davies, who appeared to be man-handled round the neck by All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore off the ball, was unable to continue and prop Aaron Jarvis had to wait for treatment before being carried off on a stretcher.

Aaron Shingler came on in the back row, with Ryan Jones moving into the second, while Scott Andrews replaced Jarvis.

It was an inauspicious start to say the least, and while that could be considered unfortunate in the extreme, Wales were let down by some disastrous decision-making.

Head coach Warren Gatland, back in match-day command after a two-week sojourn on Lions duty, had talked about "getting his players' heads right" in the build-up.

But the muddled tactical thinking evident in the abject defeats of the last fortnight resurfaced alarmingly.

Winning a penalty at the first scrum, the hosts appeared to want to make a statement by kicking to touch rather than at goal, only to lose the ball in contact.

Minutes later Wales were awarded another penalty five metres inside the New Zealand half. Priestland again got the order to kick for the corner, only to be too ambitious with his kick and miss touch.

With a yawning inevitability the All Blacks moved up field, won a penalty 30m out and Cruden stroked them ahead.

A crunching hit by Liam Williams, starting only his second Test, on Israel Dagg stopped the electric New Zealand full-back in full flow and briefly raised Welsh spirits.

But they needed a last-ditch Leigh Halfpenny try-saving tackle on Julian Savea in the left corner after Alex Cuthbert had missed his opposite man.

Bizarrely, Wales then opted to take a quick line-out when they were effectively down to 14 players, with Roberts receiving treatment. A high kick immediately handed possession back to the All Blacks.

Roberts, running backwards to rejoin the fray, then got in Williams's way as he tried to collect a kick, and was penalised for offside, his last act before trooping disconsolately off.

Gatland 'proud' despite defeat

Cruden dispensed the punishment and added his third penalty after Sam Warburton was adjudged to have infringed at a ruck. Without doing anything particularly remarkable apart from thinking on their feet, the All Blacks were 9-0 to the good after 23 minutes.

Then came the first dash of brilliance, Dagg delightfully shimmying away from three would-be tacklers to launch a devastating counter-attack continued by Savea.

Cuthbert did well to stop the left winger scoring, but it was a momentary reprieve. The All Blacks moved the ball swiftly along the line, Messam finishing off a fine move in the right corner before Cruden converted.

Centre Jonathan Davies, returning to the Wales side after missing the first two autumn Tests through injury, showed what they had been missing with a side-step and break-out from the 22 before finding Williams, but the move broke down when Paul James knocked on.

Referee Craig Joubert, who was not endearing himself to the locals, had already blown for a Welsh penalty but incredibly, Priestland missed touch again as Wales turned down the chance of another shot at goal.

Official match stats

Wales New Zealand

58%

Possession

42%

60%

Territory

40%

3 (1)

Scrums won (lost)

14 (1)

16 (1)

Line-outs won (lost)

11 (0)

10

Pens conceded

12

21

Turnovers conceded

10

99/102

Rucks won

57/61

25

Possession kicked

31

82 (22)

Tackles made (missed)

122 (19)

10

Offloads

8

7

Line breaks

8

(provided by Opta)

The All Blacks soon showed their hosts how it should be done. Sensing the chance to put the game to bed before the interval, they seized it ruthlessly.

Kicking a penalty to touch in the right corner, a neat little tap-back routine saw Woodcock barrelling through a huge hole to touch down, and Wales' goose was truly cooked.

Ten minutes after the resumption, they were 33-0 down, Cruden landing his fourth penalty before a superbly constructed try featuring forwards and backs all off-loading smartly saw lock Romano cross in the left corner. Cruden maintained his immaculate kicking record with the conversion.

Wales rallied, Warburton three times charging strongly into the heart of the All Blacks defence, only for a poor Phillips pass to bring an end to the attack, and his own involvement in the afternoon.

Ironic cheers greeted Priestland as he successfully kicked a penalty to touch in the left corner.

Finally it yielded a reward as the entire Welsh team apart from replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle joined the line-out, hooker Matthew Rees found the soaring Shingler with his throw, and the red swarm thundered over the line, Scott Williams emerging with the ball.

Halfpenny, given his first shot at goal in the 57th minute, narrowly failed with the conversion but suddenly some of the old confidence was evident, Jonathan Davies popping up another intelligent pass that Cory Jane deliberately knocked on, earning a yellow card.

The final quarter brought more comfort to the hosts, and they finished on a high when quick hands put Cuthbert over in the right corner for a deserved second try.

But the average scoreline in fixtures between the two countries side is 30-10 in New Zealand's favour, and the gap between the sides remains as wide as ever.

TEAM LINE-UPS

Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, J. Davies, Roberts, L. Williams, Priestland, Phillips, James, Rees, Jarvis, B. Davies, Charteris, R. Jones, Warburton, Faletau.

Replacements: Andrews (for Jarvis, 2), Shingler (for B Davies, 2), Knoyle (for Phillips, 55), S Williams (for Roberts, 18), Tipuric (for R Jones, 51), Jenkins (for James, 55), Owens (for Rees, 65), Hook (for Priestland, 68).

New Zealand: Dagg, Jane, C. Smith, Nonu, Savea, Cruden, A. Smith, Woodcock, Hore, O. Franks, Romano, S. Whitelock, Messam, McCaw, Read.

Replacements: Weepu (for A Smith, 52), Crockett (for Woodcock, 52), Retallick (for Romano, 52), Coles (for Hore, 55), Faumuina (for O Franks, 60), Barrett (for Cruden, 67), Vito (for Messam, 70).

Not Used: B Smith.

Sin Bin: Jane (60).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Jerome Garces (France) and Greg Garner (England)

TV: Graham Hughes (England)