All Blacks cruise to victory

World champions extend their unbeaten run to 18 tests with dominant 51-22 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Scotland have never beaten New Zealand and have now lost 27 of their 29 encounters stretching back to 1905 [Reuters]
Scotland have never beaten New Zealand and have now lost 27 of their 29 encounters stretching back to 1905 [Reuters]

A New Zealand side mixing experienced heads and fledgling internationals underlined their strength in depth without ever hitting top gear to overrun Scotland 51-22 in their opening European tour match on Sunday.

The world champions, with 10 changes from the team who drew 18-18 with Australia last month to end a winning streak of 16 matches, crossed for six tries at Murrayfield.

As usual throughout the majority of his 93-cap career, it was the unerring boot, vision, dazzling breaks and pinpoint distribution of flyhalf Dan Carter that stood out.

Israel Dagg, Julian Savea, Cory Jane and Andrew Hore went over in the first half. Savea scored the try of the game after the break thanks to Carter’s exquisite chip, Ben Smith added a late effort while Carter kicked 21 points.

Scotland, beaten by pace – especially out wide – and great handling but never afraid to mix it up front, did pose problems of their own with wing Tim Visser touching down twice and Geoff Cross scoring another.

Tougher tests

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said he would field all his squad for the games against world number nine Scotland and Italy in Rome next Saturday, before the All Blacks face sterner tests against Wales in Cardiff and then England at Twickenham.

Scotland, bottom in the Six Nations before restoring morale with an unbeaten southern hemisphere tour that brought wins over Australia, Fiji and Samoa in June, have never beaten the All Blacks and have now lost 27 of their 29 encounters stretching back to 1905.

The omens appeared bleak for the Scots, beaten 49-3 on New Zealand’s last visit to Murrayfield in 2010, after less than a minute when they were penalised and Carter kicked the opening points.

Carter missed another shot at goal before Scotland, against the run of play, stunned the world champions with an opening try thanks to Matt Scott’s interception.

Scott could not finish himself but had Visser on his shoulder and the Dutch-born wing touched down.

The Scots’ elation lasted barely five minutes as Carter twice broke through a flimsy defence for fullback Dagg to glide over.

New Zealand had gone tryless against Australia, the first time since 2005, a run of 105 fixtures, and were in the mood for more.

Greig Laidlaw and Carter traded penalties before the All Blacks went over again from a sweeping move that exposed Scotland on both flanks.

From their own half, Victor Vito was allowed to scamper down the right touchline and, when the marauding number eight was finally halted, the ball was worked across the pitch for left wing Savea to dive over.

Savea’s fellow wing Jane then got in on the act, again clinically finishing off in the corner following superb handling and hooker Andrew Hore added another.

Late rally

The Scots rallied in the closing seconds of a fast and furious opening half, prop Geoff Cross bulldozing over from the base of a ruck to trail 34-17 at the break.

New Zealand lost flank Adam Thomson to the sin-bin for mis-use of his feet early in the second half but despite good position, a lineout mistake from the Scots relieved the pressure.

But not to be outdone, the All Blacks then erred when Tamati Ellison opted to run from deep in his half and the Scots pounced on the inexperienced centre, the ball breaking loose for Visser to gallop over.

Hansen’s side needed to show their defensive qualities as the hosts enjoyed a strong 15-minute spell but any lingering hopes of a comeback were ended when Carter had the vision to chip over the top for Savea to collect at pace, step inside and burst clear.

Smith’s late try and Carter’s conversion brought up the half-century of points.

Source : Reuters

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