Ruthless All Blacks smash Ireland
Ruthless All Blacks smash IrelandSHARE
New Zealand put together a breathtaking display as they demolished Ireland 60-0 to claim a series whitewash in Hamilton on Saturday.
The All Blacks bounced back from their last-minute scare against Ireland in Christchurch last week in emphatic style, running in four tries in the first half before notching five more tries after half-time.
Ireland simply had no reply for the power, intensity and accuracy of their hosts and they will return home severely demoralised after failing to follow up on their gutsy performance last week.
Ireland had equal territory and possession in the first half but the All Blacks led 29-0 at the break and then piled on 31 points more in the second half as they feasted on turnover ball.
It left the Irish distraught, and their dream of ending the tour on a high with a first ever win over the All Blacks was transformed into a nightmare.
Any fears the All Blacks may have had playing without injured stars Dan Carter and Kieran Read were quickly dispelled, as their fledgling replacements Aaron Cruden and Sam Cane proved to be two of the most influential players.
Cruden made a mockery of Ireland plans to target his channel, with the 23-year-old setting up four tries in the opening 25 minutes before he limped out of the game.
The 20-year-old Cane in only his second Test and playing in the number seven jersey of Richie McCaw who moved to No.8 as Read's replacement, produced tackling and turnover skills that broke Irish hearts.
Ireland were not without opportunities but inaccurate passing and handling lapses cost them dear.
Fergus McFadden was denied a scoring opportunity when a Brian O'Driscoll pass floated into touch, and a promising backline move resulted in the All Blacks racing 70 metres for a try after a Paddy Wallace pass went to ground.
Ireland were out of the game halfway through the first half when Cruden engineered four tries.
A flick out of the back of his hand put Cane over to open the scoring and he then ran through a defensive wall that was meant to smother him to set Sonny Bill Williams in the clear for his first try.
Williams' second try was off an inside pass from Cruden running on the angle, and the crafty playmaker then latched on to a wayward pass by Wallace to ignite the dash which saw Ben Smith score in the corner.
Cruden then limped from the field opening the way for 21-year-old Beauden Barrett to make his debut, and he was soon on the board with a sideline penalty for the All Blacks to lead 29-0 at the break.
When play resumed, Liam Messam and scrumhalf Aaron Smith put Cane in for his second try.
From a line-out on their own line the All Blacks elected to run themselves out of trouble and the length-of-the-field counter saw Hosea Gear steamroll over Keith Earls for the five points.
With the All Blacks in such command, coach Steve Hansen elected to rest his senior lock Sam Whitelock, putting Brodie Retallick on the field for his third test and partnering debutant Luke Romano in the middle row.
The impact was three further tries as Messam, Israel Dagg and Adam Thomson all found their way to the line.
Man of the match: Aaron Cruden had a stunning 25 minutes, Sonny Bill Williams showed some incredible touches and Luke Romano was immense but young Sam Cane stole the show in front of his home crowd in a commanding performance which left Ireland toothless.
Moment of the match: Hosea Gear had raced up the touchline before he looked up and saw Keith Earls coming across in cover defence. The fearsome wing responded by dropping his shoulder, leaving Earls sprawled on the turf as Gear powered over in the corner.
Villain of the match: There were no villains, not even Rob Kearney who was shown a yellow card for trying to intecept the ball.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Cane 2, Williams 2, Ben Smith, Gear, Dagg, Messam, Thomson
Cons: Cruden 2, Dagg, Barrett 3
Yellow card: Rob Kearney (deliberate infringement)
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Richie McCaw (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O'Mahony, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Donncha O'Callaghan, 19 Chris Henry, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere (France), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)