New Zealand got their November campaign off to a fantastic start as they beat Scotland in a classy 51-22 victory at Murrayfield on Sunday.
New Zealand got their November Test series off to a great start as they beat Scotland in a 51-22 victory on Sunday.
In spells it was a performance that showed once again why the All Blacks are considered the finest exponents of attacking rugby in the game. It also backed up the importance of all players – from 1 to 15 – being comfortable in any position as forward duo Luke Romano and Wyatt Crockett proved.
New Zealand's ability to shift the point of attack with consummate ease was a constant issue for the Scots who, despite scoring the most points against the All Blacks since their defeat against Australia back in August 2011, came off second best to an effort that looks ominous to other rivals.
Tries were scored by Israel Dagg, Julian Savea (2), Cory Jane, Andrew Hore and Ben Smith but it was Dan Carter who claimed the man-of-the-match gong after directing the traffic in another showing that further rose his lofty standards.
Scotland will no doubt take some positives out of the fixture though, one being wing Tim Visser's brace that keeps his fine try-scoring rate at an impressive level. They will need him to carry that on to next week's clash with South Africa.
New Zealand started the game strongly until Scotland inside centre Matt Scott intercepted a Carter pass before handing over to speedster Visser, who was supporting well on his shoulder. The conversion from Greig Laidlaw made it 3-7 with 12 minutes on the clock.
Carter then made up for his embarrassing error as he slipped through the Scottish net to put full-back Israel Dagg in for a score. Carter's solid extras made it 10-7 at Murrayfield.
The kickers traded shots at goal soon after before the All Blacks found their rhythm as quick-fire tries from Savea, who went in at one corner and Jane's exceptional team effort – that saw the aforementioned prop Crockett and lock Romano involved – was a delight to watch.
Veteran hooker Hore then powered his way over from close range and almost in the blink of an eye, New Zealand led 34-10, with things looking bleak for the hosts. They did perk up before the break as after Scott was held up over the line, prop Geoff Cross burrowed over.
A moment that New Zealand flank Adam Thomson may live to regret then saw him shown yellow on 44 minutes for standing on the head of a Scottish player at a ruck and when Visser crossed for his second score, the hosts looked to be finding some confidence.
But the All Blacks showed why they are world champions in the closing stages as Carter set up two more scores, with Savea collecting a cross-field kick and then with five minutes to go the fly-half shrugged off a tackle, stepped and set up Ben Smith for a deserved score.
Man of the match: The phrase Perfect 10 seems to get thrown around a little too much in rugby, but with Dan Carter it consistently is attached. He created, broke the line, fended back-row forwards and kicked strongly all game. To be honest, no one else came close.
Moment of the match: Cory Jane's try was one to rewind over and over again. Piri Weepu started it before Wyatt Crockett was calm in possession and then Luke Romano's quick hands created the space outside. If there was an advert for All Black rugby, it would be on it.
Villain of the match: It was going to go to the Scottish fans who were booing while Dan Carter was lining up his kicks. However, Adam Thomson then went and did something he may regret as video footage showed him trampling on the head of a home player at a ruck.
Tries: Visser 2, Cross
Con: Laidlaw 2
For New Zealand:
Tries: Dagg, Savea 2, Jane, Hore, Smith
Con: Carter 6
Pen: Carter 3
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Kyle Traynor, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Max Evans.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Ali Williams, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ma'a Nonu.
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere (France) and Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)
By Adam Kyriacou