Mon, Nov 27, 2006 - Page 18 News List

All Blacks clobber Wales 45-10

FIRED UP Angered by the hosts' attempt to have the haka performed inbetween the two national anthems, New Zealand put the Red Dragons to the sword in Cardiff

AP , CARDIFF

Wales' Jonathan Thomas, top, and Mark Jones tackle New Zealand's Sitiveni Sivivatu during their international rugby union match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in Wales on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Winger Sitiveni Sivivatu's hat trick of tries helped New Zealand clobber Wales by a record 45-10 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and sweep its European rugby tour.

Upset at not being allowed to perform their traditional haka before the kickoff as usual, the All Blacks dazzled Wales with the first of their five tries after only three minutes and had the result sealed by halftime when they led 28-3.

Even when they spent virtually the entire last quarter a man short, the All Blacks crossed for two more converted tries to post their highest total against the Welsh in Wales. They haven't lost to Wales for 53 years.

`Hard lesson'

"It was a hard lesson, simple as that," Wales coach Gareth Jenkins said. "We came with a big belief, we felt as though we could be competitive, but we'd lost the game by halftime."

The 19th straight victory over the Red Dragons followed 40-point thrashings of world champion England and Six Nations champ France, and gave notice that the rugby world has only 10 months before next year's World Cup in France to try and bridge a widening gulf between New Zealand and everyone else.

"I think we have taken a step up. We are happy with what we achieved in terms of how we played," New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said. "We had 32 players on this tour who have all contributed."

When the Welsh Rugby Union ordered the All Blacks to perform the haka -- their century-old Maori challenge to opponents -- only between the national anthems, the players decided to do it for themselves in their changing room, which "put another bullet in the gun for the boys," McCaw said.

Sivivatu set up inside center Luke McAlister for the opening try and by the end of the first quarter, with the addition of three Daniel Carter penalties, New Zealand led 16-0. The Welsh scrum was crumbling and New Zealand was successfully competing in the lineouts.

"We wanted to start well because we knew the Welsh team would be fired up," McCaw said.

Wales flyhalf Stephen Jones converted a 25th-minute penalty but didn't have another chance before the interval.

When a Carter punt was charged down, New Zealand quickly regathered possession in a jolting tackle around halfway and Sivivatu ended up sliding across the line in the 34th.

Then in injury time, All Blacks prop Carl Hayman turned over Welsh ball and center Conrad Smith ran in Sivivatu.

"This game is about pressure. We wanted to create an environment to put pressure on New Zealand to make mistakes. But it was turned on ourselves," Jenkins said.

`The best'

"They are the best side in the world, they proved it today. They played some great rugby, their efficiency in the contact area was superb and when they got the ball their ability to move it wide was superb. We have got to be honest with ourselves and raise our standards," he said.

Carter started the second half with his fourth penalty and near the hour McCaw was sinbinned for his second foul in a ruck.

His teammates repelled three successive Welsh lineout drives and an attacking 5m-scrum. But a fourth attacking lineout finally rewarded the Welsh with flanker Martyn Williams driven over in the 64th.

But moments later, from a lineout 30m out, replacement flyhalf Nick Evans split the Welsh and gave Sivivatu his hat trick, and 14 tries in 12 Tests.

Replacement All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore was yellow-carded in the 75th minute, but New Zealand wasn't finished.

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