Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

All Blacks: Messam's mighty try shows gulf in class

Hansen says turning down shots at goal 'crazy' tactics by Welsh.

All Black loosie Liam Messam finishes off the try of the year in Cardiff. Photo / Getty Images
All Black loosie Liam Messam finishes off the try of the year in Cardiff. Photo / Getty Images

Liam Messam's try may be the most thrilling the 72,372 spectators at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff see in their rugby lifetimes.

Certainly this year, although it fell outside the voting frame for the list of nominations for next week's IRB awards function.

Someone should let a late submission stand. It was an absolute gem.

French fullback Jean-Luc Sadourny completed "the try from the end of the world" in 1994 after the ball had gone through multiple sets of hands when France beat the All Blacks at Eden Park.

It had an uncanny resemblance to yesterday's classic, which began in a similar place on the field, this time towards the All Blacks 22 as Wales bombed Julian Savea's wing.

He palmed the ball down to Israel Dagg, who evaded two or three tacklers with his array of hops and skips before setting off.

Savea had picked himself up and was in support to blast downfield. As the wing was gathered in near the touchline he popped a superb offload, close to calf high, which a trailing Aaron Cruden claimed and recycled rapidly.

The rest of the troops had arrived and assembled on attack as the ball was shifted across the park for Messam to cross untouched.

It was a remarkable team try which highlighted the variety of skills and athleticism permeating this All Black group. They have class and threats across the park, and if a defending team is not on the money they will be sliced and diced.

It is thrilling, the sort of stuff which had the great Barry John applauding as if he were reeling back the years to the great Lions combination of 1971.

Bayonet-sharp Cruden converted from the touchline as the All Blacks opened a handy lead.

It became more when they resurrected their World Cup final try to Tony Woodcock. They split the lineout into two pods, palmed the ball and the loosehead prop steamed through the gap to plunge over.

It was a pointed reminder to the self-assured Wales staff how they would have suffered at the 2011 Rugby World Cup if the teams had met in the final.

The All Blacks third and last try came in the 47th minute when Luke Romano smashed through Alex Cuthbert in the corner. It was game over then at 33-0.

But Wales came storming home and will wonder if their season has started to turn the corner with two tries.

They began the test by turning down shots at goal for lineouts and attempted tries. All Black coach Steve Hansen assessed that as "crazy" accompanied by a neat little dig about questioning those team tactics with the Messiah, aka Warren Gatland.

His team always took points on offer as a method of building pressure and gaining a toehold in a test.

Point made, another victory.

All Blacks 33
Wales10

- NZ Herald

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