Wales 16-54 New Zealand: All Blacks seal seven-try victory

David Havili tries to evade Gareth Anscombe
David Havili tries to evade Gareth Anscombe as New Zealand chalk up an emphatic win
Wales (6) 16
Tries: J Williams Cons: Priestland Pens: Anscombe 2, Priestland
New Zealand (18) 54
Tries: B Barrett 2, Perenara, Jordan, Papalii, Reece, Lienert-Brown Cons: J Barrett 5 Pens: J Barrett 3

New Zealand returned to the top of the world rankings with a seven-try demolition of a depleted Wales.

Two tries from Beauden Barrett and further scores from TJ Perenara, Will Jordan, Dalton Papalii, Sevu Reece and Anton Lienert-Brown, plus 19 points from Jordie Barrett, sealed the win.

Johnny Williams scored the only try for Wales, who were well beaten.

And captain Alun Wyn Jones and Ross Moriarty joined the hosts’ extensive injury list.

Jones – earning his 149th Wales cap and passing former New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw’s record total for one country – was forced off in the 18th minute after tackling Jordie Barrett.

The injury was to Jones’ left shoulder – the same one he injured in the summer against Japan before recovering miraculously to lead the Lions in the three-Test series defeat against South Africa – and he was replaced here by Will Rowlands, with Jonathan Davies taking over the captaincy.

Wales’ wait to beat All Blacks goes on

Defeat meant that Wales’ 68-year losing run against New Zealand continues.

Not many were expecting a first victory over the All Blacks since 1953 and New Zealand eased away in the final quarter with some sublime tries orchestrated by man-of-the-match Beauden Barrett in his 100th international.

New Zealand achieved their highest points total in Cardiff and equalled their highest winning margin in Wales.

Wales were missing 20 players, with British and Irish Lions Ken Owens, George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate and Liam Williams absent through injury and Cardiff centre Willis Halaholo unavailable because of Covid-19.

Wales also did not have access to their England-based club players Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau, Nick Tompkins, Louis Rees-Zammit, Callum Sheedy, Thomas Young and Christ Tshiunza, with the match being staged outside World Rugby’s international window.

In contrast, New Zealand fielded an almost full-strength side and came into the match having recently won the Rugby Championship and scoring 104 points against USA.

The emphatic victory in Cardiff allowed New Zealand to leapfrog South Africa back to the world number one position.

It was the first game at the Principality Stadium that could hold capacity crowds since February 2020 and the Welsh Rugby Union reported a sell-out of 74,500 for a game that raised £4m.

100 not out

Fly-half Beauden Barrett, who became the 11th All Blacks player to achieve 100 caps, was in direct competition with Gareth Anscombe.

The battle came 10 years after the pair had been team-mates in the New Zealand Under-20s side that defeated Wales 92-0 in the Junior World Championships.

Anscombe, who qualifies for Wales through his mother, had battled back from a serious knee injury suffered against England in August 2019 that had ruled him out for two years. He had only played three league games before starting against the land of his birth here.

It was a nightmare start for Anscombe, though, and a dream one for Barrett, who intercepted a pass from his opposite number to canter over – with his brother Jordie converting.

Anscombe settled down with an opening penalty after good work at the breakdown from flanker Taine Basham on his first Wales start.

The Barrett brothers scored 29 points against Wales
The Barrett brothers scored 29 points against Wales

A brilliant break from Aaron Wainwright from his own line released Owen Lane, whose inside pass to Johnny Williams was deemed to have been deliberately knocked on by Beauden Barrett.

The New Zealand fly-half escaped a yellow card from French referee Mathieu Raynal.

Wainwright was penalised for not rolling away, with Jordie Barrett restoring the seven-point advantage, then – after Wales captain Jones was forced off – adding a second penalty after New Zealand prop Nepo Laulala missed a try-scoring opportunity.

With the roof open because of Covid-19 regulations and the rain beginning to fall heavily, the All Blacks prospered as scrum-half Perenara powered over.

Despite New Zealand’s dominance, Basham stood out with his contact area turnover work and ebullient ball-carrying.

Dragons back-row colleague Moriarty was forced off after a challenge from Laulala, who failed to wrap his shoulder and struck the Wales flanker on the head.

Referee Mathieu Raynal decided it was not a red card, with Moriarty having dipped into contact and Ethan Blackadder’s tackle affecting Laulala’s challenge, with the prop handed a yellow card. Moriarty was forced off and replaced by Cardiff lock Seb Davies.

Wales’ woeful line-out continued to hamper them, though. Anscombe managed a second penalty to reduce the half-time deficit to 18-6 but Jordie Barrett added a further three points early in the second half.

Rhys Priestland replaced Anscombe for his first international in four years and made an immediate impression by slotting over a penalty.

Wales were punished for some loose kicking with Rieko Ioane and David Havili providing the warning before wing Jordan expertly counter-attacked to collect his own chip and cross for the All Blacks’ third try.

Wales finally scored a try with Priestland producing a clever kick that centre Williams pounced on.

The home side trailed by 12 points after 61 minutes but the All Blacks eased away with a devastating display of running rugby with four tries in the final quarter.

New Zealand were ruthless with two tries in quick succession as flanker Papalii and replacement Reece powered over and the onslaught continued with a sixth score for centre Lienert-Brown.

It was fitting Beauden Barrett sealed the win and took the score above 50 points with a second interception try, this time latching onto a loose pass from an otherwise impressive Johnny McNicholl.

Wales’ challenges continue next weekend when world champions South Africa arrive in Cardiff. This autumn was never going to be easy.

Wales: McNicholl; Lane, J Davies, J Williams, Adams; Anscombe, T Williams; W Jones, Elias, Francis, Beard, AW Jones (capt), Moriarty, Basham, Wainwright.

Replacements: Myhill for Elias (65), Carre for W Jones (56), Lewis for Francis (56), Rowlands for AW Jones (18), S Davies for Moriarty (36), G Davies for T Williams (68), Priestland for Anscombe (47), B Thomas for J Williams (68).

New Zealand: J Barrett; Jordan, Lienert-Brown, Havili, R Ioane; B Barrett, TJ Perenara; Moody, Taylor, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock (capt), Blackadder, Papalii, Savea.

Replacements: Taukei’aho for Taylor (62), Tu’inukuafe for Moody (62), Lomax for Blackadder (41-49), Lomax for Laulala (63), Vaa’i for Retallick (68), A Ioane for Papalii (68), Weber for Perenara (62), Mo’unga for Jordan (68), Reece for Havili (65).

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland).

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