Better finishing proved the difference between New Zealand and Wales as the All Blacks won 42-9 at Dunedin on Saturday.
The House of Pain was given its winning send-off and Wales' 57-year tale of woe continued against the All Blacks, who looked in fine form by the end of the match, but had the Welsh capitalised on their impressive fist half we could have seen more of a match.
Instead, each time the Welsh got within striking distance, something would go wrong. A maul would go down, a pass would escape the recipient's clutches, ball would be stolen, a penalty would be conceded. At one such moment, Cory Jane was able to pick up a loose ball off the side of a ruck and race 70m for his side's second try, which was probably the game's defining moment.
Any other contenders for that award involved Dan Carter, who gave a mesmerising performance just when his team needed it most. He scored two tries, made numerous other breaks and controlled the second half superbly with the boot: a complete fly-half performance. He left the field to a standing ovation ten minutes from the end.
Wales enjoyed 60 oer cent of the first-half possession and territory but were 15-9 down at the break.
They even led 6-0 after nearly a quarter of the game and were excellent value for that, with Stephen Jones knocking over a drop goal and Leigh Halfpenny landing a monster penalty. By contrast, Carter had fluffed his early line, miscuiing a tough attempt from 45m.
But the difference between the teams became apparent on 18 minutes. A line-out close to the Welsh line was New Zealand's first meaningful foray into Welsh territory and although the initial thrusts were repelled, they came at the cost of a penalty. Jimmy Cowan tapped and went, drove close, and Keven Mealamu took the ball off the back of the ruck and went through whee the Welsh defensive pillars ought to have been for the opening score. Wales with all the territory, New Zealand with all the tries.
When Cory Jane picked up that loose ball and scored to make it 15-6 on the half-hour - again at the end of a good spell of Welsh pressure - the writing was well and truly on the wall.
The Welsh could have been a try ahead inside the first couple of minutes after Andrew Bishop, who came into the side for James Hook, charged down a Carter kick inside the All Blacks 22. Israel Dagg covered and won the chase to ground in.
Andrew Bishop made a couple of strong runs as did Jamie Roberts and Wales were recycling the ball well until they got to within about five metres of the All Blacks line and prop Adam Jones knocked on.
Although New Zealand were able to clear their lines Wales soon had them under pressure again with Stephen Jones' pinpoint kicks to Joe Rokocoko's left wing where he and Dagg did not look assured.
But then came the scores from Mealamu and Jane which turned the tide completely.
Stephen Jones replied immediately with Wales' third penalty but couldn't convert a fourth opportunity when Brad Thorn was penalised for killing the ball.
Wales were almost made to pay for another error at the start of the second period when Stephen Jones saw a kick charged down by Ben Franks on halfway and the All Blacks rumbled forward.
A couple of quick phases ended with Brad Thorn bearing down on the line but some solid Wales defending held him up before stealing the ball away.
There was little respite for Wales though as the All Blacks drove forward again, before Thorn's forward pass in the corner let the tourists off the hook.
New Zealand were now clearly stamping their authority on the game and it was not long before they made it count on the scoreboard.
Carter struck over a 50th-minute penalty before grabbing his team's third try almost from the restart.
Rokocoko splintered the away defence in a buccaneering run from his own half and set the All Blacks in motion towards a try that was sealed with a clever one-two between Carter and Jane.
Carter added the conversion and suddenly the All Blacks were pulling away with a 25-9 lead with 54 minutes played.
Wales almost pulled back an unlikely try when, after withstanding more pressure on their own tryline, a hasty kicked clearance set up a breakaway.
Halfpenny won the race to the ball on the halfway line and kicked forward off the ground again but Kahui outpaced him to extinguish the danger.
Carter, who became the first New Zealander to surpass 1,000 Test points in the thumping win over Ireland last weekend, added his second try in the 67th minute.
Wales were made to pay again for turnover ball when the industrious Mealamu snatched the ball away and began a eye-catching phase of play that was capped by the supreme finishing off Carter as he raced 40 metres almost untouched despite a maze of would-be defenders circling him.
The Welsh defence was now in tatters and Kahui was similarly untroubled as he raced from halfway to score his side's fifth try four minutes later.
Carter was then given an early rest but it hardly stopped the one-way flow as Ryan Jones had to scramble across his own tryline to stop another All Black try, Aaron Cruden denied his first Test score by Jones' tackle.
Man of the match: Dan Carter: Director of the show, starring role... it was all about him today.
Moment of the match: Cory Jane's breakaway try was the moment when you just knew New Zealand had a little too much class.
Villain of the match: Whichever cretin is responsible for the musak infesting New Zealand's pre-match national anthems at the moment. As if the singers through ill-set tannoys and the bad acoustics weren't enough, the hammond organ recital accompaniment was the true low point.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Mealamu, Jane, Carter 2, Kahui
Cons: Carter 4
Pens: Carter 3
Pens: Halfpenny, S.Jones
Drop goal: S.Jones
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Ben Franks
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Richard Kahui.
Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones (c), 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 John Yapp, 18 Deiniol Jones, 19 Rob McCusker, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Dan Biggar, 22 Jonathan Davies.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)