All Blacks romp to victory over depleted Wales

Date published: October 30 2021 - Planet Rugby

Star fly-half Beauden Barrett touched down twice on his 100th Test appearance as New Zealand proved to be far too good for a weakened Wales side, easing to a dominant 54-16 victory in Cardiff.

The All Blacks controlled the majority of the match and moved into a comfortable lead at the interval thanks to Barrett’s try and TJ Perenara’s effort.

Wayne Pivac’s men responded through a pair of Gareth Anscombe penalties, but they had been dealt a blow when Alun Wyn Jones’ record-breaking afternoon was ruined after the captain picked up an injury.

It didn’t get any better for Jones watching on, despite Johnny Williams briefly giving the hosts hope, as Will Jordan, Dalton Papalii, Sevu Reece and Anton Lienert-Brown went over.

That brought them to the cusp of the 50-point mark, but it was apt that their centurion should take them over it with the last action of the match as Barrett intercepted a stray pass and crossed the whitewash to complete the rout.

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Barrett started opposite his former U20 team-mate Anscombe, who was returning to Test rugby following an absence of more than two years after being sidelined by a major knee injury.

Meanwhile, Wales’ Jones won his 149th cap, overtaking New Zealander Richie McCaw’s record for one country, although his evening lasted just 18 minutes.

It proved a nightmare start for Anscombe as he saw a pass intercepted by Barrett after just four minutes, and he sprinted clear to claim a try that his brother Jordie converted.

Wales had shown initial promising signs before the intercept, but they quickly regrouped and Anscombe kicked a penalty, making it 7-3.

The game swiftly found a rapid tempo, and Beauden Barrett was lucky to escape a yellow card following a knock-on when he looked to intercept Wales wing Owen Lane’s inside pass intended for Williams.

Jordie Barrett then booted a penalty, before Wales suffered an injury hammer-blow when Jones was forced off.

Jones left the action, being replaced by Will Rowlands, as Wales lost their leader with more than an hour of the contest remaining, with centre Jonathan Davies taking over leadership duty.

Wales had a let-off after prop Nepo Laulala dropped the ball when a try looked certain, before Jordie Barrett kicked another penalty and the home side trailed by 10 points.

New Zealand’s accuracy made the difference, and they claimed a second try six minutes before half-time when outstanding build-up play was rewarded with a score for Perenara.

Wales suffered another injury setback on the stroke of half-time when Moriarty was forced off following a tackle by Laulala and flanker Ethan Blackadder, with the former being yellow-carded for not wrapping his arm in the manoeuvre.

Anscombe then kicked his second penalty on the stroke of half-time, and New Zealand took an 18-6 lead into the interval.

Barrett completed his penalty hat-trick early in the second period, while Wales sent on Cardiff fly-half Priestland for Anscombe, making a first Test match appearance since 2017.

And Priestland was immediately in the action, kicking a penalty and setting up Williams’ score, only for the the All Blacks to quickly resume normal service when Jordan conjured a superb solo try, with Jordie Barrett adding the extras.

New Zealand finished in trademark fashion as Papalii, Reece, Lienert-Brown and Beauden Barrett added further tries during a devastating finale that showcased All Blacks rugby at its finest.