Rampant New Zealand thrash Ireland 60-0
New Zealand posted a record-breaking 60-0 thrashing of Ireland in their third and final test match at Waikato Stadium on Saturday to complete a series sweep.
The All Blacks, who squeezed past the Irish with a last-gasp Daniel Carter drop goal in Christchurch last week, scored nine tries including two each to Sam Cane and Sonny Bill Williams, and had the game won at halftime leading 29-0.
Ben Smith, Hosea Gear, Israel Dagg, Liam Messam and Adam Thomson also scored as the world champions recorded their largest winning margin against Ireland.
The previous largest margin was 53 points, when the All Blacks won 59-6 in 1992. It was the third time in their 27 tests that the All Blacks have held Ireland scoreless.
“A wounded All Blacks side is a dangerous All Blacks side,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said of the difference between last week’s performance in Christchurch and the deciding test in Hamilton on Saturday.
“We ... put them under pressure. We got gain line (advantage) and got quicker ball and with the backs we have got they’re pretty elusive when they get quick ball.”
Ireland, who have never beaten New Zealand, gave the All Blacks a major fright last week before losing 22-19, but the world champions, who made six changes to the side, put the game beyond doubt by halftime with four tries.
All four were set up by flyhalf Aaron Cruden, two to inside centre Williams and one each to flanker Cane and winger Ben Smith.
Cane and Williams’ first try came from incredible sleight of hand by the slender flyhalf when he was able to free his hands in the tackle and find the player running off him.
Smith’s try was just as impressive, with Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll turning the ball over while on attack, Cruden snatching the loose ball, running about 30 metres and feeding to centre Conrad Smith, who found his namesake outside him.
Cruden was injured in the tackle and immediately went off for treatment but did not return, handing a test debut to Beauden Barrett, who looked just as composed as the man he replaced.
The All Blacks quickly built on their 29-0 lead after the break with Cane scoring his second try after a superb break from Aaron Smith, while Gear finished off a long-range try after Cane had stolen a deep line-out throw and they spread it wide.
Gear could probably could have outstripped Keith Earls to the corner but slowed slightly before smashing over the top of the Irish winger to emphasise the gulf in intensity between the two sides.
Messam, Dagg and Thomson scored tries in the second half as the All Blacks continued their rout and refused to allow Ireland to put any points on the board.
“I think the ‘D’ (defence) set the attitude and that was the difference from last week,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said. “We were going forward on D and forcing turnovers and that made the 60 (point difference) I guess.”
Ireland captain O’Driscoll was frustrated at the margin of defeat.
“That scoreline is a bit embarrassing. We knew we had to start well and we didn’t,” he said. “That’s what the All Blacks do when they get a 15, 20-point lead they just play their own game and you’re running after them for 80 minutes.”
New Zealand — Tries: Sam Cane (2), Sonny Bill Williams (2), Ben Smith, Hosea Gear, Liam Messam, Israel Dagg, Adam Thomson; Conversions: Aaron Cruden (2), Dagg, Beauden Barrett (3); Penalties: Barrett.