All Blacks prove too strong and clinical for Wales


All Blacks score tries through Codie Taylor (two), Jordie Barrett (two), Aaron Smith (two) and Ardie Savea in display which showed how clinical and powerful they are; Wales score through Rio Dyer and Justin Tipuric, while Gareth Anscombe added three penalties, but they were second best

By Michael Cantillon

Last Updated: 05/11/22 5:30pm

The All Blacks raced away to victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff The All Blacks raced away to victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff

The All Blacks raced away to victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff

An ultra-clinical and physical New Zealand proved too strong for Wales in Cardiff, clinching a 55-23 Autumn International victory at the Principality Stadium. 

An entertaining clash saw New Zealand race out to a 17-0 first-half lead, as Codie Taylor scored twice, but Wales fought back through a superb Rio Dyer try – on his debut – and two Gareth Anscombe penalties either side of a Jordie Barrett try for the visitors.

Wales 23-55 New Zealand – Score summary

Wales – Tries: Dyer (26), Tipuric (51). Cons: Anscombe (27, 52). Pens: Anscombe (32, 40+1, 46).

New Zealand – Tries: Taylor (11, 19), Jordie Barrett (35, 77), Smith (47, 54), Savea (65), Taukei’aho (80+1). Cons: Mo’unga (12, 20, 48, 55), Jordie Barrett (78, 80+3). Pens: Mo’unga (4).

The second half saw tries rain down early as New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith scored twice, either side of a try from Wales skipper Justin Tipuric, as the All Blacks pulled away each time Wales threatened to complete a comeback – twice coming within six points.

The All Blacks ultimately proved too powerful and efficient, however, running away with the game with further Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett and Samisoni Taukei’aho tries.

Leigh Halfpenny pulled out on the day of the Test due to a hamstring injury, with Gareth Anscombe starting at full-back. Flanker Justin Tipuric captained Wales on his first start since the 2021 Six Nations following injury (collarbone/shoulder). Ken Owens made first appearance for Wales in over a year. Dragons’ Rio Dyer came in for his Test debut on the wing.

For the All Blacks, scrum-half Aaron Smith surpassed Dan Carter as the most capped back in All Blacks history, playing his 113th Test at the Principality Stadium. Sam Whitelock captained the side from the second row alongside a fit-again Scott Barrett. Star wing Will Jordan will not take part on tour due to a persisting vestibular issue.

The All Blacks hit the front on three minutes, as Mo’unga struck crisply off the tee from 30 metres or so after Wales second row Adam Beard had been penalised for coming in at the side of an early breakdown.

Richie Mo'unga registered the opening points of the Test via a penalty in the early stages Richie Mo'unga registered the opening points of the Test via a penalty in the early stages

Richie Mo’unga registered the opening points of the Test via a penalty in the early stages

Just past 10 minutes – despite Wales making a promising start with ball in hand themselves – New Zealand had the opening try as hooker Taylor stooped to score from close range after 11 phases of attack in the Wales 22 and a superb initial linebreak from flanker Dalton Papalii.

Mo’unga converted for a 10-0 lead, but the visitors spilled the restart to hand Wales an attacking opportunity in the 22, only for tighthead Tomas Francis to knock on. A subsequent scrum penalty won by New Zealand allowed them to completely clear the danger.

More All Blacks pressure deep in the Wales 22 saw a second try scored – again by Taylor close to the try-line – as the visitors displayed their superiority in power and contact repeatedly.

Mo’unga’s second conversion saw Wales staring at an ominous 17-0 deficit, and though 17 phases of Welsh attack followed, they struggled time and again to make headway and ground going forward.

A penalty against New Zealand wing Sevu Reece at the breakdown allowed the hosts to kick to the corner, however, and from there Dyer scored a stunning set-piece try as Tompkins played a brilliant blind pass for the debutant to sprint through.

Rio Dyer scored a superb try for Wales on his Test debut Rio Dyer scored a superb try for Wales on his Test debut

Rio Dyer scored a superb try for Wales on his Test debut

Anscombe converted off the tee, before a counter-ruck just outside the 22 saw Wales wrestle possession back as the All Blacks looked for a quick repost.

Tompkins picked and went through the middle of a ruck to sprint into the All Blacks 22 soon after, and with the visitors stretched, they were penalised at the ruck. With the crowd stirred up, Wales resisted the temptation to go for a second try, as Anscombe tapped over three further points via the boot.

With six minutes left of the half, the All Blacks struck again though for another clinical try as, on penalty advantage, inside-centre Jordie Barrett pulled wide for a Mo’unga crossfield kick-pass, which landed perfectly for Barrett to claim above the head of Dyer and score.

Jordie Barrett scored the All Blacks' third try out wide Jordie Barrett scored the All Blacks' third try out wide

Jordie Barrett scored the All Blacks’ third try out wide

In the final two minutes of the half, Wales passed up a big chance to hit back on the scoreboard, as No 8 Taulupe Faletau was penalised for going off feet as a latcher near the All Blacks try-line.

Anscombe did add three more points before the interval, however, splitting the uprights with the final kick of the half after New Zealand had played the ball off-feet, leaving the score 22-13.

A fast start to the second half by Wales saw Faletau hound All Blacks full-back Beauden Barrett off the park deep in the 22, and off the resulting lineout, the hosts carved out another penalty, which Anscombe struck over from close-range to reduce the Kiwi lead to six points.

Gareth Anscombe cut the All Blacks lead back to six points twice, before the visitors pulled away again Gareth Anscombe cut the All Blacks lead back to six points twice, before the visitors pulled away again

Gareth Anscombe cut the All Blacks lead back to six points twice, before the visitors pulled away again

That optimism was soon knocked back again, though, as in typical All Blacks fashion, they scored a try out of nothing: scrum-half Smith dummying, stepping and sprinting in for a solo try – on the occasion he becomes the most capped All Blacks back of all time (113).

All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith scored two tries in the dominant win All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith scored two tries in the dominant win

All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith scored two tries in the dominant win

Wales hit back almost immediately themselves though, as on penalty advantage, scrum-half Tomos Williams put in a brilliant chip, which Mo’unga could only bat back under pressure from Anscombe in the air. The loose ball was picked up by skipper Tipuric for a scrappy finish, which he seemed to lose control of, but replays proved inconclusive.

When Anscombe converted, Wales were within six points again, but a third try in seven minutes between the teams saw Smith extend the lead with his second after magnificent play from the hugely impressive Ardie Savea in attack, dummying, carrying and offloading to brilliant effect.

Savea put the result beyond doubt with 15 minutes to go, when he finished off an All Blacks attack filled with power in contact – almost making a mess of the grounding as he looked to do a splash dive, but doing enough to score.

There remained time for two more All Blacks tries, as first Barrett slid in to notch his second, before replacement hooker Taukei’aho scored after a maul drive in the final play.

What’s next?

Wayne Pivac’s Wales next host Argentina at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, November 12, in a 3.15pm (GMT) kick off for the second of their four autumn internationals this Test window.

Wales’ Autumn Internationals

Saturday, November 5 Wales 23-55 New Zealand 3.15pm
Saturday, November 12 Wales vs Argentina 5.30pm
Saturday, November 19 Wales vs Georgia 1pm
Saturday, November 26 Wales vs Australia 3.15pm

For Ian Foster and the All Blacks, they next travel to face Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Sunday, November 13, in a 2.15pm (GMT) kick off.

New Zealand’s Autumn Internationals

Saturday, October 29 Japan 31-38 New Zealand 6.05am (GMT)
Saturday, November 5 Wales 23-55 New Zealand 3.15pm
Sunday, November 13 Scotland vs New Zealand 2.15pm
Saturday, November 19 England vs New Zealand 5.30pm

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