Clinical All Blacks beat Wales 33-18 for unbeaten tour

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New Zealand's Waisake Naholo, goes over the top of Wales's Steff Evans to score a try, during the rugby union international between Wales and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Nov. 25. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
New Zealand’s Waisake Naholo, goes over the top of Wales’s Steff Evans to score a try, during the rugby union international between Wales and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Nov. 25. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Cardiff, Wales (AP) — New Zealand scored tries from their only two real attacks of the first half and then found their stride in the second to beat Wales 33-18 on Saturday for an unbeaten rugby tour of Europe.

Right wing Waisake Naholo touched down acrobatically in the right corner in the 14th minute, and again in the 38th minute, in an opening 40 in which Wales had all the ball and yet still trailed the clinical world champions at halftime.

The All Blacks subdued the Welsh midway through the second half when replacement center Anton Lienert-Brown scored and left wing Rieko Ioane sped away for an intercept try in a four-minute spell to open a 26-11 lead.

That was enough of a cushion for New Zealand, who extended their winning run over Wales to 30 games and 64 years and sealed a fifth win from five games on their northern hemisphere tour.

Wales last beat the All Blacks in 1953 and raised hopes of history when center Scott Williams went in after a slick backline move at the very end of the first half to cut New Zealand’s lead to 12-11.

Replacement scrumhalf Gareth Davies scrambled over for Wales’ second try for 26-18 with 10 minutes to go after All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock was sin-binned.

That showed the Welsh fight, but New Zealand didn’t relinquish control of an engaging rematch between British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland, now back in his day-job with Wales, and New Zealand boss Steve Hansen.

Ioane added his second try with just over five minutes to go to give both All Blacks wingers a brace of tries. Despite the Welsh having the ball for so much of the game, New Zealand still outscored them five tries to two.

Naholo’s both came against the run of play as Wales did almost all of the attacking in the first half. In the first 24 minutes, New Zealand made 76 tackles to Wales’ 11. Wales had 68 percent possession in the first 40.

New Zealand had more to show, though, with scrumhalf Aaron Smith setting Naholo up twice. Naholo dived and touched down with one hand for the first try, and then squeezed in at the corner after Smith’s quick tap penalty for his second.

Apart from those two moments, New Zealand turned their attention to defending effectively for the rest of the half, keeping out Wales until the 41st minute, when Williams rounded off an attack created by a midfield break from wing Hallam Amos and twice involving flyhalf Dan Biggar.

The All Blacks crushed Welsh hopes with the tries from Lienert-Brown and Ioane around the hour-mark. Lienert-Brown scooped up an offload that went to ground from Ioane and jogged in with no Welsh defender in sight. Soon after, Ioane read a speculative pass from Biggar and was gone.

The prolific winger’s second came late on, when a huge gap in the tiring Welsh defence opened up and he sailed through it.