New Zealand ran in nine tries, with Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Cane scoring doubles, to inflict a record 60-0 defeat on Ireland yesterday and sweep their three-Test series.
Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Cane 2, Williams 2, B Smith, Gear, Messam, Dagg,
Cons: Cruden 3, Barrett 3. Pen: Barrett.
Stand-off Aaron Cruden produced an outstanding cameo before being forced from the field by injury, beguiling the Irish defence with his running and passing skills and creating tries for Williams, Cane and Ben Smith to give the All Blacks a 26-0 lead after only 24 minutes.
Ireland, who had hoped to build on a competitive second Test performance, suffered their heaviest loss to New Zealand in being held scoreless against the All Blacks for the first time in 88 years.
“You look at that scoreline and the way the test match went... that scoreline’s a bit embarrassing,” Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll said. “We knew we had to start well and we didn’t, and that’s what the All Blacks do when they get a 15 or 20-point lead. They just play their own game and you’re running after them for 80 minutes. That’s how it was.”
Cane, making his first starting appearance after the flanker’s debut off the bench last week, scored his second try in the 44th minute while Ireland were reduced to 14 men by the sin-binning for a professional foul by full back Rob Kearney.
Winger Hosea Gear also scored while Kearney was absent, dashing more than 50 yards and crashing through the cover defence for the All Blacks’ sixth try in the 50th minute.
Gear and Liam Messam were playing their first Test in nearly 12 months, and the flanker scored in the 58th minute – New Zealand’s 100th Test try against Ireland – when he ran a superb angle to receive a well-timed pass from Cane.
Full-back Israel Dagg received treatment for what seemed a serious leg injury but soon after won the race to the bounce of a kick from Williams to score the eighth try. Beauden Barrett’s conversion gave the All Blacks a 53-0 lead.
Barrett, 21, who came off the bench to make his Test debut as Cruden’s replacement, played with remarkable poise and provided the pass for flanker Adam Thomson’s try for the record winning margin.
“You’re always in danger [after a good start] that you might throw the ball around a bit more than you should,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said. “But I was happy with the way Aaron [Cruden] and [Barrett] played.
“I think we played enough territory but also took our opportunities and getting that mix right is important.”
The All Blacks were able to establish a high tempo from the start. The visitors’ desultory efforts to run the ball were met with crunching tackles that led to turnovers, fuelling All Blacks counter-attacks.
The All Blacks forwards were timid in the scrums last week but dominated the Irish in that area, providing their backs with a constant stream of front foot possession. The backs ran at pace and with power, constantly crashing over the advantage line or working the ball into space.
New Zealand: Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, S B Williams, Gear; Cruden, A Smith; Woodcock, Hore, O Franks, Romano, Whitelock, Messam, Cane, McCaw (c). Subs: Mealamu, B Franks, Retallick, Thomson, Weepu, Barrett, Ellison.
Ireland: Kearney; McFadden, O’Driscoll (c), Wallace, Earls; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, Tuohy, Ryan, McLaughlin, O’Brien, O’Mahony. Subs: Cronin, Fitzpatrick, O’Callaghan, Henry, Reddan, O’Gara, Trimble.
Referee: R Poite (Fra). Attendance: 20,000.
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