New Zealand power past Wales in Wellington

Marquez suffers big crash in MotoGP Australian GP FP1

New Zealand outscored Wales to remain unbeaten in the second of the three-match Test series when they beat them 36-22 in Wellington on Saturday.

The win not only means that the All Blacks are 2-0 up in the three-match Test series after winning the opening Test in Auckland last week but this victory also extends the All Blacks winning streak against Wales to 27 matches, the last time New Zealand loss to Wales was in 1953.

The home side outscored the visitors by five tries to three with Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Waisake Naholo and Ardie Savea getting over for the All Blacks while it was Alun Wyn Jones, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies who dotted down for Warren Gatland's men. 

New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden added one conversion and one penalty before replacement pivot Barrett slotted three conversions, which along with his try took his personal tally to eleven points while Wales playmaker Dan Biggar succeeded with one penalty and two conversions.

In similar fashion to last week's loss, the visitors matched the two-time world champions, once again, in the opening 40 with the score level on 10-all as the teams headed into the tunnel in Wellington. However, like last week, it was the value that the All Black bench, when added to the match, brought which ensured the home side make amends for a rather lacklustre first half performance.

Wales kept out, deep inside their own half, a wave of resilient attacks from the All Blacks, in the opening ten minutes. These attacks laid a solid platform for the current world champions to gain the upper hand over their opposition.

However it was the visitors who got the first points of the match when Dan Biggar converted a penalty which handed his side a brief 0-3 lead.

The home side applied consistent pressure inside the Wales' 22 allowing them to run with confidence within striking distance after a well guided floating pass from scrum-half Aaron Smith to Malakai Fekitoa before the midfielder passed to Israel Dagg, who was playing in his 50th Test, which allowed the full-back to dive over and with Cruden's conversion saw the home side command a 7-3 lead as the second quarter of the match approached.

The Test centurion, lock Alun Wyn Jones, rounded off a well-worked move to go in for Wales' first try, on the stroke of half time, Jonathan Davies was heavily involved during the build up in what lead to the outside centre effecting an overhead pass sending the second-rower, who is playing in his 101st Test, over the whitewash which left Biggar to convert from a difficult angle which the fly-half succeeded as the players headed into the break with the scores locked on 10-10.

It would seem that visitors were set to score as they laid a solid foundation in the opening ten minutes of the second stanza when the inspirational captain Sam Warburton turned over the ball deep inside his own half only for a pass to go astray which Dagg pounced on and set up an ideal attacking position for the home side which was rounded off by Ben Smith, who is also playing in his 50th Test match, which replacement fly-half Barrett converted to give the All Blacks a 17-10 lead.

Moments later Barrett and Naholo crashed over for their side's third and fourth try respectively with the fly-half only succeeding with one of his two conversion attempts, stretching New Zealand's lead to 29-10. It was in the build up to Barrett's try, which started deep inside the home side's half after Smith sniped around a ruck, that the All Blacks' attacking prowess and slick handling skills become more evident.

Despite the home side dominating the scoreboard they were trailing in terms of the possession (44 percent) and territory (45 percent) stats as well as making 46 passes less than Wales' 187. This conversion rate continued as replacement loose forward Ardie Savea, in front of his home crowd, finished off yet another well worked team try which was his first All Black try. Barrett adding the extras meant the match was starting to slip away from Wales with the scoreboard on 29-10.

Two quick tries in succession from the visitors, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies each dotting down, including a conversion from Biggar reduced the home side's lead to 36-22 as the final five minutes were approaching.

The visitors' late surge was however not enough to overpower the All Blacks' discipline on defence. However this was a much improved second half performance by Wales compared to last week.

Man of the Match: Tough one to call as the All Blacks' team performance once again in impeccable form however the returning full-back Israel Dagg's effort deserves a mention. The Crusaders utility back joined the backline during attack and made valuable metres.

Moment of the Match: An allround performance from the All Blacks, but the impact of home side's bench cannot go unnoticed with the likes of Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea and Seta Tamanivalu adding value both on attack and defence which allowed New Zealand to score (26) second half points. 

Villian of the Match: Nothing nasty to report.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Dagg, Smith, Barrett, Naholo, A Savea
Cons: Cruden, Barrett 3
Pen: Cruden

For Wales:
Tries: AW Jones, L Williams, J Davies
Cons: Biggar 2
Pen: Biggar

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Seta Tamanivalu

Wales: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams 

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Wayne Barnes (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)