Monday 24 July 2017

Carter kicks his way to record in Dragons' den

Wales 25 New Zealand 37

Andrew Baldock

Dan Carter broke Jonny Wilkinson's world Test points record at the Millennium Stadium last night as New Zealand completed their third Grand Slam tour in six seasons.

All Blacks out-half Carter missed four first-half kicks, but an early long-range penalty took him one point past Wilkinson's mark of 1,178.

Wales gave the red-hot 2011 World Cup favourites a real fright though, trailing 13-12 early in the second period after Carter's opposite number Stephen Jones landed four penalties. But the All Blacks displayed their renowned ruthless streak when it mattered, with Hosea Gear scoring two tries while full-back Mils Muliaina, Gear's fellow wing Isaia Toeava and substitute prop John Afoa also touched down.

Carter added three conversions and two penalties, and Jones slotted two more three-pointers, plus a conversion of full-back Lee Byrne's well-worked late try to see him finish with 20 points.

Wales put up a good fight, but ultimately went the same way as England, Scotland and Ireland this month, beaten comfortably by the best team on planet rugby. They had taken the lead inside two minutes when Jones slotted a penalty after he was tackled late by Gear, but the All Blacks wing soon made amends with a soft fifth-minute try, going over in the corner after missed tackles from Tom Shanklin and wing George North on Toeava.

Carter missed the touchline conversion attempt, yet he found his range just four minutes later from 49 metres to overtake Wilkinson and give the visitors an 8-3 advantage. They struck again midway through the first-half as Muliaina glided in from halfway, eluding half-hearted challenges from Wales flanker Dan Lydiate and his back-row colleague Ryan Jones.

Jones chipped away at the lead with a series of penalties either side of half-time, but just as Wales had closed the gap the All Blacks found that extra gear to pull away.

Scorers -- Wales: Byrne 1 try, S Jones 1 con, 6 pens. New Zealand: Gear 2 tries, Muliaina, Toeava, Afoa 1 try each, D Carter 3 cons, 2 pens

Wales: L Byrne; T Shanklin (A Bishop 79), J Hook, T James; S Jones, M Phillips (P James 78); G Jenkins (R Rees 78), M Rees (capt), A Jones, B Davies, A-W Jones, D Lydiate (J Thomas 48), S Warburton (M Williams 75), R Jones (A Powell 48)

New Zealand: M Muliaina; I Toeava, C Smith, SB Williams (M Nonu 49) , H Gear; D Carter (S Donald 78), J Cowan (A Ellis 77); T Woodcock, K Mealamu (A Hore 75), O Franks (J Afoa 62), B Thorn, S Whitelock (A Boric 55), J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read (D Braid 37)

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland)

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