Gatland fails to inspire a miracle
NEW ZEALAND 33
Published 25/11/2012 | 05:00
New Zealand head for London and Twickenham looking every bit the best side in the world and arguably getting close to becoming the best All Blacks to tour the northern hemisphere.
Wales had Warren Gatland back in charge after a couple of weeks on Lions business, but after sending his men out with enough fire in their bellies to last 80 minutes, it made little difference to the outcome. Wales, for all their endeavour, have now lost their last six matches, with another of their bogey sides, Australia, due at the Millennium next Saturday.
Wales are a shadow of the side which reached the World Cup semi-finals 13 months ago and completed the Grand Slam last spring and must hope that when the 2015 World Cup draw is made in eight days they are still among the top eight seeds.
Their losing run is the worst since the 2002-03 season, when Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach, was in charge, and it was obvious from the haka – ending with a finger across the throat – that his charges had no intention of doing the current regime any favours.
New Zealand were without Test rugby's leading points scorer Dan Carter but Aaron Cruden proved a more than able deputy, producing seven perfect kicks which yielded 18 points. Three penalties and converted tries from Liam Messa and Tony Woodcock had the All Blacks 23-0 up at the break.
Luke Romano added a third after good work from Cruden and Julian Savea and after 48 minutes the job was done. With penalties of little use, Wales turned down a couple of chances to get on the scoreboard and their industry brought reward as Scott Williams was bundled over. Alex Cuthbert got a second as Wales finished in spirited fashion.
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