All Blacks romp to grand slam win over Wales
New Zealand completed their November tour in style on Saturday by defeating Wales 37-25 to record their third grand slam of the home unions in five years.
The All Blacks out-scored the Welsh by five tries to one while flyhalf Daniel Carter broke Jonny Wilkinson’s world record tally of 1 178 points with his second kick of the match.
Carter, who needed three points to edge the Englishman, converted a penalty from just inside the Welsh half and straight in front of the posts, but otherwise had an indifferent day with the boot.
Left wing Hosea Gear scored a try in each half to take his tally for the tour to five and fullback Mils Muliaina added a try to the brace he scored against Scotland. Gear crossed the line in only the fourth minute when Sonny Bill Williams fed Isaia Toeava coming off his right wing. Toeava surged through as the Welsh defence held off and lobbed a pass to Gear who scored a simple try in the corner.
Muliaina was the next to cross the Welsh line after Carter completely fooled the Welsh defenders by jogging at half pace, then accelerating suddenly to feed the fullback who raced through on the inside against some more flimsy Welsh defending.
Stephen Jones kept Wales within touch in the first 40 minutes with three penalties which restricted the All Blacks to a 13-9 lead at halftime despite their overall superiority.
Wales enjoyed their best passage of play just after the break with centre Tom Shanklin twice bursting through the first line of defenders.
New Zealand’s replacement number eight Daniel Braid was sent to the sinbin after deliberately holding on to the ball on the ground for the second successive time and Jones narrowed the gap to one point with a simple penalty.
But New Zealand were not to be denied.
Conrad Smith wrestled a path through the Welsh defenders and fed his centre partner Ma’a Nonu who had replaced Williams. Nonu linked with captain Richie McCaw and the ball went to Gear who raced over in the corner.
Jones slotted two further penalties before New Zealand put the game beyond reach when Welsh fullback Lee Bryne failed to clear near his line and the ball went through forwards Brad Thorn and replacement Anthony Boric to Toeava who crossed to score.
Replacement prop John Afoa rubbed salt in Welsh wounds with an easy try and Wales’s only try of the match in the final minute to Byrne came far too late to influence the result.
New Zealand, who host the World Cup for the second time in 2011, finished the year with one loss in 14 matches while Wales have won only two of their last 13.
The All Blacks are yet again the undisputed world number one side but they will fly home needing no reminding from either at home or abroad that they have not lifted the Webb Ellis trophy since they hosted the inaugural tournament in 1987.