CARDIFF (Reuters) -Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith and Codie Taylor all scored two tries apiece to lead New Zealand to a dominant 55-23 win over Wales in their test at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
The outstanding Ardie Savea and replacement hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho got the other tries as the All Blacks outscored their hosts eight tries to two in a winning start to their three-test British tour.
Richie Mo’unga kicked over one penalty and four conversions and Beauden Barrett got the last two conversions.
Debutant winger Rio Dyer and captain Justin Tipuric went over for Wales with Gareth Anscombe adding the other 13 points with his boot, having been moved to fullback from flyhalf in a late change to the starting line-up when Leigh Halfpenny pulled out.
The All Blacks proved an imposing force from start to finish, moving quickly to temper the anticipatory mood of a sold-out Cardiff crowd and reinforce their status as the game’s superpower.
An early Mo’unga penalty was followed by a pair of tries from Taylor, both times smashing over from close range as the Kiwis raced into a 17-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
Wales recovered from looking flustered early on and offered hopes of a closer contest when the 22-year-old Dyer darted over from a clever pop pass from Nick Tompkins in the 25th minute.
But as expectations began to mount so the All Blacks beat them down with a clever high kick out wide from Mo’unga seeing Barrett rise above Dyer to pluck the ball out of the sky and score for a 22-13 halftime lead.
Smith, celebrating a record 113th test for an All Blacks back, broke clear for a 47th-minute try but three minutes later Wales cut their lead to six point as Tipuric went over at the end of a kick over the top of the tourists’ defence. He did not look to have control of the ball as he went over but after an extensive TMO check the try was awarded.
That, however, proved the end of home resistance as the All Blacks scored four unanswered tries in the final 25 minutes.
An audacious dummy from Savea allowed Smith in for his second try, followed by one for Savea himself to cap another commanding performance.
“We wanted to put on a performance here to be proud of. We still leaked a few points but we’ll take that and enjoy the night,” said Savea.
Barrett and Taukei’aho added two more in the last four minutes as the All Blacks turned the screw on a tired Welsh side.
“We knew coming into the game that they finish their games strong, so it’s nothing we didn’t expect,” said Tipuric.
“All credit goes to New Zealand. You give them a sniff and they take all the points.”
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)