McCaw leads All Blacks out the mire again

Jan 31 2019 Published by under 深圳桑拿网

Different opponents but same scenario and same reason for winning, record-setting captain Richie McCaw said following the All Blacks’ 34-16 defeat of Wales in Cardiff.

深圳桑拿网

The world champions ended their season with another of the come-from-behind wins that has marked their successful year.

Trailing 16-15 with 10 minutes remaining, the world champions unleashed a powerhouse finish to conjure three tries against the tiring hosts.

New Zealand’s 26th successive win over Wales since 1953 was also the ideal way to mark McCaw’s 100th Test as captain, as he became the first player in the world to reach that milestone.

Another record was broken when hooker Keven Mealamu came off the reserves bench in the 65th minute for his 362nd first class game, surpassing the New Zealand record held by lock great Sir Colin Meads.

McCaw says it is that sort of experience which continues to prove the difference at the business end of tight Tests.

“The whole second half felt like we were getting an edge and we just had to capitalise on it,” he said.

“When you go through experiences often enough, you know that one moment can have a big influence on the rest of the game.

“As soon as you nail that, you can see that hurts them mentally and our guys lifted.”

New Zealand scored five tries to one but that didn’t reflect the tight, physical nature of Test which was locked 3-3 at halftime.

Five-eighth Beauden Barrett came into his own in a more open second spell, scoring two tries and setting up another as he fully justified his selection ahead of Aaron Cruden and Dan Carter.

He also kicked nine points but wasn’t as accurate as Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who slotted 11 points in a four-from-four return.

New Zealand complete their four-Test tour unbeaten and end the year with 12 wins, one draw and a loss.

An early Halfpenny penalty was matched by a 49-metre Barrett effort to square the scores in a slow-moving first half.

Wing Julian Savea put the visitors 10-3 ahead soon after the break, bumping off five-eighth Dan Biggar in a bullocking 20m charge.

Wales struck straight back through impressive halfback Rhys Webb and Halfpenny put them 13-10 ahead with a conversion and penalty.

Flanker Jerome Kaino scored from a pinpoint Barrett cross-kick following a long period of New Zealand pressure but Halfpenny’s boot pushed Wales one point ahead.

Barrett shifted back to fullback when reserve five-eighth Colin Slade came on and the pair took control, using a series of kicks to gain territory or set up tries.

Barrett received the ball 30m out on the right touch before chipping the defence and reacting quicker to the bounce than Halfpenny to score a momentum-swinging try.

Read scored from a charge down before Barrett had the final say, snaring his second try following Slade’s cross-kick.

Welsh coach Warren Gatland says his team’s defence had stifled New Zealand’s running game but he praised the visitors for their late tactics.

“There were periods today when we rattled them,” he said.

“When they came under pressure, they did execute their kicking strategy very well.

“There were a couple of lucky bounces and a charge-down, and that’s been our downfall.”

Gatland was proud of his team’s commitment and will ask them to lift again next week when they host South Africa.

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