Beauden Barrett grabs 26 points as All Blacks crush Wales in third test
New Zealand win 46-6 in Dunedin to sweep three-match series
Fly-half Beauden Barrett scored two tries and 26 points as New Zealand crushed Wales 46-6 in the third test on Saturday to sweep the three-match series 3-0.
Rookie centre George Moala had a try disallowed but immediately scored another which showcased the best of All Blacks rugby as New Zealand preserved a 63-year winning streak against Wales.
Moala was playing only his second test and his first in more than a year as he knitted sweetly into an All Blacks backline in which Barrett, fullback Israel Dagg and winger Ben Smith were at their predatory best.
The 25-year-old Moala, auditioning for a permanent role in the New Zealand midfield, repeatedly split open the Wales backline defence in the first half.
He came close to scoring his second test try in the 29th minute but was controversially denied, then scored 10 minutes later at the end of a movement which sprawled 70 metres and in which Dagg handled three times.
Barrett scored two second-half tries, running through his opposite Dan Biggar on both occasions, and kicked five conversions and two penalties while Smith, likely the best fullback in the world, looked the best wing with New Zealand’s first try.
Hooker Dane Coles also scored tries as Wales weakened and eventually buckled, as was expected, at the end of a tiring series and exhausting season. Wales first came together as a squad on June 15 last year and have been together almost continually since, through the Rugby World Cup and Six Nations tournaments. Their will was strong but at last they gave way to slow attrition.
“It was a bit messy at times but it was a good Welsh side and to get the 3-0 result was pretty pleasing,” said All Blacks captain Kieran Read. “We came out and showed a lot better intent in the first half, looked after the ball.
“They’re coming off a long season and we’re pretty fired up about playing for 80 minutes.”
New Zealand won the first test 39-21 and the second 36-22, in each match overrunning Wales late, after tight first halves. The hosts were determined on Saturday to settle the issue, taking the match out of Wales’ grasp earlier and did so, scoring two unanswered tries to lead 18-6 at half-time.
“It was a big improvement and defensively we were great,” coach Steve Hansen said. “That first 65 minutes was probably as good as we want it to be at this stage of the season but you’re always wanting more.”
Wales had little left to throw at the All Blacks in the second half and, while they defended with determination, the score mounted steadily. New Zealand were too fit, too fast and too skilful for a Welsh team which had played above themselves in the first two tests.
“The scoreboard’s a fair reflection,” said Wales captain Sam Warburton. “The first two games I thought we played pretty well but it was poor today.
“Our kick-chase today was bad, they got a lot of success from their counter-attack and our defence wasn’t good enough. Basic mistakes like that you just can’t do over here.”
New Zealand 46 (Ben Smith, George Moala, Beauden Barrett (2), Dane Coles, Israel Dagg tries; Barrett five conversions, two penalties) Wales 6 (Dan Biggar two penalties).