Autumn international: Wales 18-33 New Zealand

By Richard WilliamsBBC Sport Wales at the Principality Stadium
Autumn internationals
Wales (11) 18
Tries: S Williams, G Davies Con: Halfpenny Pens: Halfpenny 2
New Zealand (12) 33
Tries: Naholo 2, Lienert-Brown, Ioane 2 Cons: B Barrett 4

Clinical New Zealand claimed a 30th consecutive win over Wales to end their 2017 autumn tour of Europe unbeaten.

The All Blacks defied overwhelming Welsh possession and territory to lead at half-time thanks to two tries by wing Waisake Naholo.

Then two in six minutes for Anton Lienert-Brown and Rieko Ioane opened a 15-point gap.

Wales scored through Scott Williams and Gareth Davies, but Ioane's second touchdown ended a late fight-back.

Warren Gatland's team showed more signs of promise, but were not able to end their 64-year wait for a win over the All Blacks.

They simply could not match the cutting edge New Zealand showed whenever they caught a whiff of the home team's tryline.

The difference was exemplified late in the game after Davies claimed Wales' second try, as the visitors hit back after Ioane's interception try had silenced a rowdy home crowd.

Wales trailed by just a point at half-time thanks to Scott Williams' try
Wales trailed by just a point at half-time thanks to Scott Williams' try

Reduced to 14 men with lock Sam Whitelock in the sin-bin, New Zealand fashioned a sharp backs move which saw Ioane cut through to snuff out any lingering home hopes.

Looking ahead Wales can point to fine performances from prop Rob Evans and flankers Josh Navidi and Aaron Shingler.

But when it came to turning promise into points, New Zealand were in a different class.

While the All Blacks head for the beach, Wales have to raise themselves for the visit of South Africa next Saturday.

They will face the Springboks without second row Jake Ball who has a suspected dislocated shoulder, while scrum-half Rhys Webb staggered off in the opening 10 minutes after taking a blow to the head to be replaced by Davies.

Possession, not points

Wales had the ball almost 70% of the time, but with a minute to go before the interval had only Leigh Halfpenny's two penalties to show for their efforts.

Gareth Davies's second-half try hinted at a Welsh comeback before New Zealand stretched away
Gareth Davies's second-half try hinted at a Welsh comeback before New Zealand stretched away

New Zealand's two forays into the Wales 22 yielded two tries for right wing Naholo - the first after Ioane's midfield burst and the second after scrum-half Aaron Smith took a quick penalty.

The balance on the scoreboard changed on the stroke of half-time when Wales' stuttering lineout finally functioned and fly-half Dan Biggar and wing Hallam Amos combined to send Scott Williams over in the left corner.

If they had matched New Zealand's clinical finishing Wales would have been out of sight after 40 minutes.

Instead, they trailed by a point and two more interventions by Ioane turned that deficit into 15 points just after the hour.

His burst and slip pass put replacement Lienert-Brown over after Amos was caught defending a little narrow, and then Ioane snatched Biggar's pass intended for Amos to sprint clear and effectively end Welsh hopes.

Man of the match

Wing Rieko Ioane was an outstanding performer for New Zealand in Cardiff
Wing Rieko Ioane was an outstanding performer for New Zealand in Cardiff

Rieko Ioane, the Blues wing, played a big hand in Naholo's first try and made Lienert-Brown's. And he scored two himself. Not a bad day's work.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "I thought it was a great Test match. At half-time I felt we'd given them soft tries. I said yesterday we had a good chance of winning if we could contain their wingers and that was the difference between us. Their power and pace showed and they scored four tries between them.

"But Steffan [Evans] and Hallam [Amos] would have learned a lot from that. I thought it was a great Test and we contributed a lot to it.

"We try to play positively. No doubt [injured British and Irish Lions] Jonathan Davies and George North would have given us a lot out there today but we talk about developing players for the World Cup and we're doing that."

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said: "It was a good reflection of where we are this week. We trained smart and we needed it because Wales were excellent. If you take away the emotion of who you support I thought it was a great game of footie.

"We defended really well in the first half and then after half-time we lifted the tempo and started to get our share of momentum and create chances, and we didn't miss too many opportunities.

"Both wings are pretty special. Rieko [Ioane] is only 20. He's phenomenal, if we can keep his feet on the floor he can be very special that kid. And Naholo was pretty special too."


Wales: Halfpenny; Amos, S Williams, O Williams, S Evans; Biggar, Webb; R Evans, Owens, Francis, Ball, A W Jones, Shingler, Navidi, Faletau.

Replacements: Dacey, W Jones, Brown, Hill, Tipuric, Davies, Priestland, Roberts.

New Zealand: McKenzie; Naholo, Crotty, Williams, Ioane; B Barrett, Smith; Hames, Taylor, Laulala, Tuipolotu, S Whitelock, Squire, Cane, L Whitelock.

Replacements: Harris, Crockett, Tu'ungafasi, S Barrett, Todd, Perenara, Sapoaga, Lienert-Brown.

Match officials

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Jerome Garces (France) & Frank Murphy (Ireland)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)


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