Rampant All Blacks crush Ireland
June 23, 2012
New Zealand's Sam Cane dives over for one of his two tries against Ireland in Hamilton
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New Zealand powered to a record 60-0 victory over Ireland in their clash at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Story of the Game
The All Blacks' impressive nine-try showing propelled them to their biggest-ever winning margin against Ireland while a resolute defensive display also kept their rivals score-less for the first time in 88 years.
Twenty five minutes of genius from fly-half Aaron Cruden laid the foundation for their stunning triumph with a brace of tries from Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Cane breaking the back of Ireland's challenge.
The home side started the livelier of the two sides with the offloading prowess of Williams providing an ever-present danger. The All Blacks tested the Irish left to right as referee Roman Poite overlooked a forward pass by Williams before Cruden's delightful flick pass set up Cane for his first international try. Cruden stepped up to add the extras despite the best efforts of Keith Earls to distract.
The Chiefs out-half combined with his Super Rugby team-mate Williams again after only 12 minutes with a superb flick pass. The centre bounced off Fergus McFadden and raced free to touch down with Cruden once again adding the extras.
Irish No.8 Peter O'Mahony was pulled up soon after for being offside at a ruck but Cruden's penalty was left and wide. That was the only bright point of the opening 20 minutes as Cruden once again combined with Williams for a score.
The diminutive out-half fed his No.12, who stepped inside Paddy Wallace and bounced through Dan Tuohy to dive over for his second. Israel Dagg kicked the conversion.
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll then squandered position as Ireland made their first meaningful foray into the All Blacks half. His team harried to get the ball back but when Wallace failed to find O'Driscoll in midfield, Cruden raced free and tossed up a pass that Ben Smith took at full gallop and touched down in the right corner. Dagg missed the conversion as Cruden left the pitch for treatment.
Rob Kearney did well to hold onto an Earls pass at full pace before New Zealand were penalised for going off their feet. With three points not enough to make a difference on the scoreboard, Ireland went for the five-metre scrum but scrum-half Aaron Smith stole possession and kicked clear.
Poite sent Kearney to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on as the All Blacks swarmed down the right flank. Beauden Barrett, on for the injured Cruden, marked his debut with a penalty that made it 29-0 at half-time.
Four minutes into the second half Liam Messam burst through two tackles and fed the supporting Aaron Smith. The scrum-half's offload bounced off Cane's chest but the flanker gathered the looping ball and dived over under the posts. Barrett chipped the conversion over.
Left winger Hosea Gear then scored the All Blacks sixth try. He outpaced McFadden and delivered a crunching forearm into Earls' face before dragging the trailing McFadden over the tryline with him.
Barrett's conversion missed but Steve Hansen's men led 41-0 after just 51 minutes. Five minutes later Cane fed a charging Messam who dived over.
Williams the took a pass on the halfway line and sized up his options before releasing Dagg down the right with a perfectly judged grubber kick. The fullback evaded the chasing Earls and touched down, with Barrett landing the extras.
Replacement Adam Thomson raced clear for a try after great work from Luke Romano and Barrett in a build-up that left Poite and half the Irish team sprawling on the turf. Barrett's successful kick made it 60-0 and left the tourists deflated at the whistle.
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