Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

All Blacks complete Grand Slam

Dan Carter

Dan Carter broke Jonny Wilkinson's world Test points record at the Millennium Stadium as New Zealand completed their third Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland in six seasons with a 37-25 victory over Wales.

All Blacks fly-half Carter missed four first-half kicks, but an early long-range penalty took him past England star Wilkinson's mark of 1,178. Wales gave New Zealand a real fright though, trailing 13-12 early in the second period after Stephen Jones landed four penalties. But the All Blacks hit back with Hosea Gear scoring two tries.

Full-back Mils Muliaina, Gear's fellow wing Isaia Toeava and substitute prop John Afoa also touched down. Carter added three conversions and two penalties, and Jones slotted two more three-pointers, plus a conversion of full-back Lee Byrne's well-worked late try to see him finish with 20 points.

The hosts took the lead inside two minutes when Jones slotted a penalty after he was tackled late by Gear and although the All Blacks wing turned his ankle after landing awkwardly following the challenge, he soon ran it off by going over unopposed in the corner.

Carter missed the touchline conversion attempt, yet he found his range just four minutes later from 49 metres to overtake Wilkinson and give the visitors an 8-3 advantage.

New Zealand struck again midway through the first-half as Carter injected pace into a routine counter-attack, and Muliaina glided in from halfway, eluding half-hearted challenges from Wales flanker Dan Lydiate and his back-row colleague Ryan Jones.

Stephen Jones cut the deficit with a second penalty, and he completed his penalty hat-trick to continue the Wales momentum.

The All Blacks were rattled, confirmed by substitute Daniel Braid being yellow-carded for not rolling away after tackling Stephen Jones. The fly-half brought Wales to within a point by booting the resulting penalty, yet it was the cue for New Zealand to step up intensity levels, and slick passing saw Gear claim his second try.

Carter added the extras and then kicked a penalty, but two more Jones penalties during a four-minute spell gave Wales renewed hope. An upset briefly looked possible - then New Zealand emphatically snuffed out any prospect through late scores from Toeava and Afoa.

Wales at least had the final word through Byrne's consolation effort that Jones improved, although New Zealand once again emerged victorious and extended an unbeaten record against Wales that stretches back to 1953.

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