June 24, 2012
All Blacks smash Ireland by record margin
By SANZAR News Service and allblacks.com
The All Blacks have slammed shut the international window with a dominant 60-0 victory, and a 3-0 Steinlager Series sweep, against a disappointing Ireland on Saturday.
Having been tested by a resurgent Irish outfit last weekend, coach Steve Hansen's men were back to their best in front of a capacity crowd at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium.
And it was the local boys who responded, with Chiefs star Sonny Bill Williams crossing twice while Liam Messam also scored a try for the hosts.
A lack of ball control hurt Ireland from then on and their confidence subsequently subsided. Any opportunities to mount attacks were thwarted either by a strong line defence or multiple handling errors.
Tackling was also an issue for the Irish, allowing Williams and Liam Messam to score tries thanks to multiple missed tackles en route to the line as the Irish conceded their highest margin of defeat to the All Blacks - surpassing the hosts' 59-6 victory in 1992.
The result was also the third time in 27 Tests - the first time since 1924 - where the Irish failed to score a point in a Test match against the All Blacks.
It was another local lad that perhaps had the biggest impact, albeit in a 25-minute cameo. Starting in Dan Carter's absence, Aaron Cruden showed all of his strength, vision and innovation before limping off after 25 minutes.
It was enough time for him to showcase his skill, however, including two superb offloads to give Sam Cane his first Test try from his maiden start as well as Williams' opening try.
The dominance didn't end after Cruden's departure as Ben Smith got in on the action with a 35m effort made all the more enjoyable by Conrad Smith, whose unselfishness allowed the Highlanders utility to score his first international try.
The floodgates continued to pour for the hosts when Cane scored his second and Adam Thomson notched his sixth Test try to extend the hosts' lead to 60-0, a perfect way to end what had been a dominant night for the hosts.
Nobody left Waikato Stadium, with all 25,000-plus staying to gift the side a standing ovation - they had witnessed something spectacular.
All Blacks 60 (Sonny Bill Williams 2, Sam Cane 2, Ben Smith, Hosea Gear, Liam Messam, Israel Dagg, Adam Thomson tries; Aaron Cruden 2 con, Israel Dagg con, Beauden Barrett 3 con, pen) Ireland 0. HT: 29-0.