All Blacks put 70 points on USA

Date published: November 1 2014

Inevitably the event mattered more than the scoreline as New Zealand dispatched the USA with a 74-6 win in Chicago at Soldier Field.

Inevitably the event mattered more than the scoreline as New Zealand dispatched the USA with a 74-6 win in Chicago at Soldier Field.

Taking the sport to the United States is a necessity for the future of rugby and there’s no doubt with national TV coverage, strides will have been made with regards towards the development of the game in a country that truly loves its sport. Denying that is foolish.

With the greatest respect to the USA though, the outcome of this one was already known before kickoff. In the end the All Blacks finished with 12 tries.

Too strong, too clinical. In a sense the All Blacks made a statement, not that they really need to. Many new fans will have been won along the way, with at one stage a century of points feeling likely before the USA stemmed the tide. Better to embrace the occasion than tune in expecting a nailbiter.

Everything initially was a little bit different for both your seasoned fan and New Zealand, starting with some questionable anthems, but after some initial jitters the All Blacks played as expected.

The USA have some quality players, exemplified by Samu Manoa, Chris Wyles and most of all Blaine Scully, whose tenacity with blood coming out of his face set the tone. They just don’t have enough of those players yet.

The exposure of this match will go towards changing that, with the possibility of a Rugby World Cup in the USA in the future being something which holds great appeal.

A try on debut for Nathan Harris set the All Blacks on their way and lived up to the script. The hosts could either wilt or rally.

A long attack with the USA retaining the ball well inside New Zealand’s 22 ended with a penalty and some points for young Adam Siddall after 11 minutes.

Israel Dagg’s offload out the back released Cory Jane to add New Zealand’s second try and silence a crowd that had been growing in confidence the longer the USA held onto the ball inside Kiwi territory.

Some brilliance from the restart by Scully led to Siddall’s second penalty to keep the USA in touch, but New Zealand simply counterpunched with another try, Patrick Tuipulotu going over next.

Now they were scoring at will. Sonny Bill Williams dotted down after good work from Ryan Crotty to cap his return to Test rugby.

Charles Piutau, Williams again and Julian Savea, from a ridiculous offload by captain Kieran Read, all added further tries before the half was out as the USA’s tackling sadly wasn’t up to scratch.

SBW was denied a hat-trick at the beginning of the second half after a forward pass but Joe Moody’s short-range score kept the momentum going the way of the world champions.

If there was a pointer for the All Blacks, Aaron Cruden’s kicking wasn’t perfect (not that it mattered.) Four of nine conversions went over on his return to Test action after being stood down in the middle of the Rugby Championship. Luckily they had a replacement by the name of Dan Carter to come on.

Dagg brought up try number ten, deserved after his assists earlier on, as Carter looked to lay down a marker before facing England next weekend at Twickenham.

Sam Cane got in on the act for try number 11 and you could have forgiven the fans for deciding to head for the exit, but no one did. A beautiful second try for Savea wrapped things up with the crowd rising to their feet.

For all parties, mission accomplished.

Man of the Match: Showing touches of class throughout, Kieran Read was exceptional in the absence of Richie McCaw.

Moment of the Match: Rather than any of the action, the pre-match build-up was truly special as both teams were given a rousing reception.

Villain of the Match: Nothing nasty to report.

The scorers:

For USA:
Pens: Siddall 2

For New Zealand:
Tries: Harris, Jane, Tuipulotu, Williams 2, Piutau, Savea 2, Moody, Cruden, Dagg, Cane
Cons: Cruden 4, Carter 3

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Brett Thompson, 10 Adam Siddall, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Danny Barrett, 7 Scott Lavalla, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Olive Kilifi, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 Tom Coolican, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Tai Tuisamoa, 20 Louis Stanfill, 21 Benjamin Tarr, 22 Folau Niua, 23 Troy Hall.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Daniel Carter, 23 Julian Savea.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referee: Chris Assmus (Canada)

by Ben Coles