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All Blacks turn up the heat to beat Wales in Cardiff

Wales 16 New Zealand 34

By Andrew Baldock

World champions New Zealand staged a storming second-half display to dash Wales' hopes of claiming a famous victory at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales looked on their way to ending 61 years of hurt against New Zealand when they led 16-15 with only 11 minutes left, but fly-half Beauden Barrett's try double either side of a Kieran Read touchdown gave the All Blacks a remarkable 26th successive victory in the fixture, winning 34-16.

New Zealand claimed four touchdowns in 13 devastating minutes during the final quarter, and Wales were reduced to shellshocked bystanders.

Flanker Jerome Kaino and wing Julian Savea also scored for the visitors, with Wales replying through scrum-half Rhys Webb's try and 11 points from the boot of full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

The final scoreline was rough on Wales, yet the red-hot World Cup favourites once again reminded them of the standards that make Richie McCaw's men a class apart as their skipper celebrated his 100th Test as captain in fitting fashion.

Wales had impressively held their own in the toe to toe battle in the first half, yet they fell behind within three minutes of the restart as New Zealand stepped up a gear in ruthless fashion as Savea claimed his 30th try in just 33 Tests, with Barrett converting.

The lead lasted just two minutes as Wales hit back brilliantly when Webb touched down before Halfpenny's conversion tied things up again.

A second Halfpenny penalty put Wales back in front after 51 minutes.

But back came New Zealand, as McCaw ran deep into Welsh territory and set up a gilt-edged scoring opportunity that Barrett capitalised on, kicking majestically to the far touchline - and Kaino touched down unopposed.

Again New Zealand's lead proved short-lived, as another Halfpenny penalty made it 16-15 to Wales.

Yet just two minutes later New Zealand responded through a Barrett solo score after he gathered his own kick ahead by gathering a kind bounce that had foxed Halfpenny.

Slade converted, and New Zealand sealed the deal when Read charged down Phillips' attempted clearance and Barrett scored again.

Belfast Telegraph


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