All Blacks con­tinue un­beaten run

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By STEVEN SA­MUELS

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.

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