All Blacks continue unbeaten run
A full house was on hand to see the Red Dragons of Wales take on the mighty All Blacks at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The All Blacks were looking to continue their unbeaten run throughout this year, and keep their 59-year winning streak intact. Many great generations of Welsh players have dreamt of beating the All Blacks but have failed in their endeavours with their last win way back in 1953.
One thing in the Welsh favour was the return of their coach Warren Gatland from British and Irish Lions duty. Also, the return of some key players bolstered the squad which had been ravaged by injuries. It must be a great experience being in the stadium when 70,000 Welsh singers belt out Land of Our Fathers, which resonates around the whole stadium. You could tell by listening that they put their heart and soul into it.
Early on in the game, both teams were testing out each other’s defences, looking for any chinks in the armour they could exploit. Aaron Cruden kicked three first-half penalties, which showed the desire to accumulate points whenever they were in the opposition’s half. The Welsh, on the other hand, were intent on scoring tries and turned down several kickable chances in their quest to get across the line. The result of this policy was 9-0 to the All Blacks. The Welsh prevented early chances by the All Blacks to score, coming up with great oneon-one tackles and a fair amount of scrambling defence. Eventually, Israel Dagg caught the ball inside his own 22 and decided to start stepping and swerving round defenders before sending the ball on to Julian Savea who powered his way down the sideline. The Welsh winger managed to ankletap him and bring him to the ground, but Savea managed to stay in-field.
After that, it was just a matter of spinning the ball wide and drawing the last defender, letting Liam Messam be the beneficiary in the right-hand corner. At this stage the Welsh were reeling – unable to match the All Blacks’ tempo and intensity.
Not only that, but it did not help that their players were dropping like flies. Welsh centre, Jamie Roberts, prop Aaron Jarvis and lock Bradley Davies all had to leave the field in the first half with injuries, but also throughout the game there were stoppages for injuries.
A controversial moment in the game was Andrew Hore’s swinging arm on Bradley Davies, for which he has been cited, and most probably will be suspended for this week’s test against England.
The All Blacks managed to score a couple more tries to Tony Woodcock and Luke Romano, giving them a 33-0 lead. Throughout the second half, Wales defence tightened up, preventing the All Blacks from scoring any more points, and adding two tries of their own to Scott Williams and
Alex Cuthbert. Final score, 33-10.
The signs were very promising on the first day of the second test between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka. Ross Taylor won the toss and decided to bat first. Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum walked out onto the pitch ready to show a lot more steel and determination not to give their wickets away cheaply. But that wasn’t the case as Guptill was caught from an edge in the slips. Minutes later McCullum was given out LBW in a rather dubious fashion as replays clearly showed the ball had touched the bat before hitting his pad.
Breaking through: Man of the Match Richie McCaw powers through the Welsh defence.