All Blacks 34
Wales 16

The margin of this victory looks comfortable, but the All Blacks were again asked to dig extremely deep for it by a defiant Wales, who at one point, must have thought their first win over their nemesis since 1953 was within grasp.

Instead, it was once again the All Blacks, led by the tireless Richie McCaw in his 100th test as skipper, who will leave Cardiff triumphant.

Wales led twice in the second half, 13-10 and then 16-15, but again failed to find the killer blow. Their defence, magnificent for the first 60 minutes and urged on by a massive crowd in fine voice, gave way in the final quarter, with Jerome Kaino, Beauden Barrett (twice) and Kieran Read scoring tries to take the game away from them.


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Barrett scored his second in the corner in the final minutes, picking up a loose ball, and his opportunism was apparent in his first - a great chip and chase complete with perfect bounce. Read scored from a charge down.

Kaino's try was the result of a brilliant charge by hooker Dane Coles and a flat cross-kick from Barrett to Conrad Smith, who gave a simple pass to the loose forward.

Julian Savea began the flow after halftime, thanks to a piece of perseverence by Read at a ruck to re-claim lost possession. Savea, receiving the ball from a Conrad Smith pass, simply brushed by Dan Biggar and attempted tackle of opposite Alex Cuthbert.

Rhys Webb's try in reply set up the prospect of a Wales win, or at least a very close finish. It wasn't to be, and it was a far cry from a first half which was less about flair and all about attrition.

Wales didn't do anything special in the first half. They did the fundamentals well, except at scrum time where they were dominated by the All Blacks.

They tackled extremely well, rushing up on the All Blacks attack with a blitz defence which created problems time and again for the visitors. Sonny Bill Williams got one offload away to Conrad Smith but the rest of the time he was well contained. It is hard to remember him dropping the ball as much as he did in that first stanza.

The other thing the men in red did well was in slowing the game down to a level they were comfortable with. There was exactly 10 minutes of injury time in that first half, a series of stoppages which seemed to include repairs to half the Wales team.


It clearly frustrated the All Blacks, who ran into the similar tactics against England in New Zealand in June. Halfback Aaron Smith took a quick penalty tap from halfway in the end of the first half in an attempt to spark something, anything, to get in behind the Welsh and stress their defence as well as their cardiovascular systems.

The tactics continued after the break, including in one bizarre incident when referee Wayne Barnes allowed lock Alan Wyn Jones time to dry his hair with a towel before a scrum.

There is no way of knowing whether the injuries were enhanced or genuine - non of the treated players went off - but it must be something the powers that be keep an eye on before it reaches cynical levels.

The All Blacks meanwhile will be satisfied to leave their Northern tour with a perfect record. That second half included some of their best performances of the trip, with Barrett, Read and Ben Smith increasingly influential.

All Blacks: 34 (Beauden Barrett 2, Julian Savea, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read tries; Barrett pen, con, Slade 2 cons)

Wales: 16 (Rhys Webb try; Leigh Halfpenny 3 pens, con)
HT: 3-3

Kieran Read brings down Wales' Jamie Roberts. Photo / AP

Beauden Barrett makes a break. Photo / AP

Conrad Smith and Julian Savea celebrate Savea's second-half try. Photo / AP