CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — New Zealand extended its 68-year rugby dominance of Wales with a 54-16 rout in Cardiff on Saturday, with Beauden Barrett marking his 100th test with two of the All Blacks’ seven tries.
There was also a 16th try in 11 tests for right winger Will Jordan, who provided the moment of the match with a wonderful individual score that started in his own half to keep up the stunning start to his international career.
Tries in the final 16 minutes by Dalton Papali’i, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown and Barrett pushed the All Blacks well clear of a Welsh team that was heavily depleted even before captain and stalwart Alun Wyn Jones was forced off with a left-arm injury in his 149th cap for Wales — an appearance record for one country.
It was the first time New Zealand posted a half-century of points in an away match against Wales and it tied the team’s biggest margin of victory in Cardiff, matching the 41-3 win in 2005.
Both of Barrett’s tries were off interceptions, the second coming in the last minute of the match as he raced down the right wing with a broad smile on his face.
“I’m somewhat relieved it’s over — it’s been quite a tense week,” Barrett said of his milestone appearance.
“We had to work for it against a very good Welsh side, a very fit side. The big boys fronted up and made it easier for me.”
His brother, Jordie Barrett, kicked 19 points for the All Blacks in the first match of the European leg of their end-of-year tour that’s into its 11th week.
It’s now 32 straight losses against New Zealand for Wales since its last win in this fixture, as far back as 1953. Seventeen of those defeats have been in Cardiff and it was always going to be an uphill battle for Wales with its New Zealand-born coach Wayne Pivac without a slew of key players.
Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau and Louis Rees-Zammit were unavailable because the game was being played outside the official World Rugby international window, while George North, Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric were injured and center Willis Halaholo and fullback Liam Williams had illnesses.
The All Blacks’ class was evident throughout the game but the ruthlessness really showed in the final quarter when Wales tired and the visitors’ bench excelled.
“Credit to New Zealand, it shows why they’re one of the best teams in the world, their ruthlessness,” Wales captain Jonathan Davies said.
Beauden Barrett’s first try came in the fourth minute, when he intercepted a pass from Wales’ New Zealand-born flyhalf Gareth Anscombe, playing his first test in two years, and ran through unchallenged from 40 meters out.
The score was 10-3 — after Anscombe and Jordie Barrett exchanged penalties — when Jones sustained his injury in tackling Jordie Barrett. He shook his head as he walked down the tunnel, a member of Wales’ medical staff holding Jones’ arm.
TJ Perenara’s close-range try in the 34th, from Ardie Savea’s offload, put New Zealand 18-3 ahead but Wales had a glimmer of hope when prop Nepo Laulala was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle of Ross Moriarty — forcing the back-rower out of the game with a head injury — and Anscombe booted a penalty before the halftime hooter.
Coming off a hat trick of tries against the United States last weekend, the 23-year-old Jordan again demonstrated his outrageous talent by fielding a box kick from Tomos Williams inside his own half, piercing the defensive line on his return run with a hitch kick and sidestep, before kicking past Williams and collecting the bouncing ball to ground.
Johnny Williams’ converted try from replacement Rhys Priestland’s kick through closed the gap back to 12 points but the All Blacks proved too powerful and clinical in the final quarter.
“We were happy at 28-16 with 18 minutes left,” Pivac said, “but we fell off a cliff in those last 18 minutes.”
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.