Sun, Jul 03, 2005 - Page 22 News List

Carter chews up the Lions

RUGBY UNION New Zealand All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter scored 33 points during the 48-18 victory over the British and Irish Lions in the second of three tests

AP , WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand All Black flyhalf Daniel Carter dives over to score against the British and Irish Lions in the second test match in Wellington, New Zealand, yesterday. The All Blacks thumped the Lions 48-18 to take a 2-0 lead in their three match series. Carter scored 33 points, including two tries during the match.

PHOTO: AFP

Flyhalf Daniel Carter scored two tries among 33 individual points to lead the All Blacks to a 48-18 win over the British and Irish Lions in the second rugby test Saturday and a 2-0 victory in the three-test series.

Carter produced his most potent performance in the No. 10 jersey for New Zealand, outshining his famous opposite Jonny Wilkinson who contributed only eight points before leaving the match with an injured shoulder 20 minutes from fulltime.

Carter's touchdowns in the third and 29th minutes of the second half enlarged the All Blacks' 21-13 halftime lead, helped them to an advantage of five tries to two and clinched their series win in two of three scheduled tests.

The third, now a dead match, will be played in Auckland next Saturday.

Carter came within inches of a least two more tries and contributed with deft handling, neat passes or inch-perfect kicks to scores by Sitiveni Sivivatu, Tana Umaga and Richie McCaw which filled out the emphatic All Blacks' win.

Beyond that pivotal contribution, he kicked four conversions and five penalties -- nine goals from 10 difficult attempts -- to consign Clive Woodward's Lions to history -- the ninth of 10 Lions teams to have lost test series in New Zealand.

Lions' backs coach Eddie O'Sullivan described Carter as the top No. 10 in the world -- "a well-oiled machine" -- and his vote was seconded by All Blacks' coach Graham Henry who said Carter's performance was among the best ever by a New Zealand flyhalf.

"He had an exceptional game," Henry said. "He kicked almost all his goals, he broke the line, he scored tries. His defense was superb and he navigated the ship. For a 23-year-old, quite outstandingly."

Woodward's boast that his original 45-strong touring party was the fittest and best-prepared Lions team ever to have left Britain echoed hollowly around the stadium Saturday as more athletic, more astute and more attacking All Blacks team left its series in ruins.

Woodward staked a coaching reputation built in nine years with England, which had its peak at the 2003 World Cup, on his ability to guide his massive Lions machine to victory in New Zealand. The visitors lost the first test 21-3.

"I thought it was a totally different performance by the Lions team and I've just said in the dressing room there's nothing more we could have done," Woodward said.

"I'm very proud of everyone. No one gave up. The All Blacks are a very, very good team and I went into their dressing room after the match and told them that."

The Lions had begun in earnest with a try to newly appointed captain Gareth Thomas less than two minutes into the match. Woodward's tourists had crashed onto attack when the All Blacks knocked on the kickoff and after a surge down the left-hand touch, Thomas hurled himself through a gap beside a ruck and scored untouched below the crossbar.

The Lions didn't cross the All Blacks line again until the 65th minute and by that time, at 34-18, the match was lost.

Carter's two second half tries contained all the evidence necessary to lodge him among the best flyhalves of All Blacks and world rugby. As Wilkinson's bright star waned Saturday, Carter's had risen.

"I thought this was a match that had all the ingredients," Henry said. "I thought the Lions played well, better than Christchurch, and they had the All Blacks under pressure but we showed composure and character to lift ourselves out from under that pressure. I don't know if we can play much better than that."

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