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Awesome All Blacks end on a high

Awesome All Blacks end on a high

Wales 10  New Zealand 45

Wales went down to their first defeat of the Invesco Perpetual Series with a 45-10 loss at the hands of New Zealand.

Martyn Williams scored for Wales during an encouraging second-half display in front of 74,000 at the Millennium Stadium. Yet the All Blacks showed once again why they are the top side in the world with five tries, including a hat-trick for wing Sitiveni Sivivatu.

A dispute over pre-match protocol meant the All Blacks performed their traditional Haka in their changing room instead of on the pitch, but they did not waste any time once the game had started, running in their first score after just three minutes.

Rico Gear sparked the attack from inside his own half, Sivivatu kept the All Blacks moving forward before opening a clear path for centre Luke McAlister. Dan Carter converted and added four penalties to establish a commanding 16-0 lead.

Wales showed signs of their attacking potential through Shane Williams and Tom Shanklin and captain Stephen Jones hit the mark with a penalty on his return to the Wales team following injury. Yet the All Blacks were lethal from any mistake and Sivivatu crossed twice before the break for a 28-3 half-time lead.

James Hook, Gethin Jenkins and Alix Popham were introduced to immediate effect in the second half as Wales rallied. All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw was sent to the sin bin as Gareth Jenkins’s men turned the tables on the tourists. Wales looked to press home their advantage up front and Williams was shoved over by the full weight of the Welsh pack from Ian Gough’s lineout.

The try brought the Millennium Stadium to its feet but New Zealand proved too strong and hit back through Sivivatu’s third and a penalty try late on after Gear’s powerful burst.

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Halftime: 3-28

Try – M Williams
Con – J Hook
Pen – S Jones

New Zealand
Penalty try; Tries – S Sivivatu (3) L McAlister
Cons – D Carter (2), N Evans (2)
Pens – D Carter (4)

Wales: K Morgan, M Jones, T Shanklin (J Hook 45), S Parker (G Henson 72), S Williams, S Jones (capt), D Peel (M Phillips 61), D Jones (G Jenkins 45), R Thomas (M Rees 71), A Jones (D Jones 71), I Gough, I Evans (A Jones 55), J Thomas, M Williams, R Jones (A Popham 45)

Replacements: M Rees, G Jenkins, A Jones, A Popham, M Phillips, J Hook, G Henson

New Zealand: M Muliaina, R Gear, C Smith, L McAlister, S Sivivatu (M Nonu 76), D Carter (N Evans 61), B Kelleher (P Weepu 46), N Tialata (T Woodcock 34), A Oliver (A Hore 46), C Hayman, K Robinson, A Williams, J Collins, R McCaw (capt), R So’oialo (R Thorne 61)

Replacements: A Hore, T Woodcock, R Thorne, P Weepu, N Evans, M Nonu Yellow cards: R McCaw (56), A Hore (71)

Referee: Dave Pearson (England)

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