Saturday Jun 19, 2010
NZ HERALD STAFF
New Zealand romped to a 42-9 victory over Wales on Saturday in the first match of a two-test series as the home side bid farewell to Carisbrook rugby stadium.
The last test at the famous Dunedin ground - which will be replaced with a modern, covered stadium for next year's rugby World Cup - saw the All Blacks post their 20th consecutive victory over Wales in a winning streak dating back to 1953.
Flyhalf Dan Carter scored two tries among 27 points for New Zealand while hooker Keven Mealamu and wingers Cory Jane and Richard Kahui also touched down. Carter kicked four conversions and three penalties for the most points in a single test by a New Zealander against Wales.
New Zealand has won 31 of 37 tests at the stadium since 1902.
Wales' only points came from goalkicks in the first half: a penalty and dropgoal to flyhalf Stephen Jones and a long-range penalty to Leigh Halfpenny. After the break, the All Blacks took control of a match in which Carter was the dominant influence.
"We've given him some good ball in the last couple of matches and he's shown what he can do," said Richie McCaw, who captained the All Blacks to a test win for a record-equalling 39th time, paid tribute to Carter's latest performance, which followed a fine display in last weekend's 66-28 win over Ireland.
"He's a good man to have," McCaw. "But a lot of hard work goes in from other blokes to leave holes for characters like that."
Wales matched the All Blacks for effort if not for enterprise in the first half. The side played with raw physicality at breakdowns and its defense was stout, but Wales clearly lacked the opportunity to turn openings into tries.
New Zealand, in contrast, had two try-scoring opportunities in the first half and took both - through Mealamu and Jane - to lead 15-9 at halftime.
Wales pledged before the match to attempt to score tries but showed a lack of real attacking ambition when Jones opted for a dropgoal from broken play after three minutes. Halfpenny kicked a penalty from near halfway in the 11th minute for a 6-0 lead as New Zealand was slow to settle.
The All Blacks hit the front with Mealamu's try from a tapped penalty in the 18th minute and, at 7-6, took a lead they never subsequently relinquished.
Jane pounced on a ball which squirted untended from a Welsh maul in the 32nd minute and, in the absence of blindside defense, ran almost 60 meters to score, wrong-footing the last defenders.
New Zealand quickly established control of the match in the second spell, extending its lead to 18-9 with a Carter penalty. Carter then scored his first try, beating four defenders on an angled run, to make the game safe at 25-9.
Carter's second try was the best of the match as he exploited turnover ball created by Mealamu to run more than 60 meters to the goalline. He wove in an out of defenders before touching down for his 27th try in the All Blacks' jersey.
Replacement winger Kahui also struck from long range, sawing through midfield from close to halfway, for the All Blacks' final try nine minutes before the fulltime siren.
"The difference between the teams was they scored off our mistakes and we couldn't score off theirs," Welsh captain Ryan Jones said.
The teams meet again in Hamilton next Saturday.