Saturday, June 21, 2014
New Zealand completed a 3-0 whitewash of England as they stormed to a 36-13 victory in Hamilton on Saturday. The damage was done in the first half as the All Blacks shot out to a 29-6 lead, but England held on to limit the damage in the second half.
Wing Julian Savea, who has now scored as many tries as he has played Test matches, picked up a stunning hat-trick, scoring two of his three tries in what can only be described as a first half hiding.
The All Blacks were in devastating mood as they exposed England's defensive patterns and scored tries without too much trouble. Both Savea and scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored two in the first half, before Savea completed his hat-trick with time up, as they chose not to kick the ball out.
England's tour complexion now looks a little worse than it did a week ago, when they still felt they were improving and had a lot to build on. Perhaps that is still the case but the ease in which they were torn apart in the first half would be worrying. They fronted up in the second period though, showing great heart and keeping the hosts scoreless right up until the final play of the game.
Marlan Yarde's second half try gave the visitors some hope and steadied the sinking ship, but the cool heads of the World Champions steered them to yet another victory at home. The last time they lost there was in 2009, to South Africa.
The All Blacks have now equalled the [top-tier] record for most consecutive wins in Test rugby, with 17 on the trot. They join the All Blacks of 1965-69 and the Springboks of 1997-98 who jointly hold the record. A win over the Wallabies in Sydney on 16 August will take them out in front.
Their dominance has been such in recent times that in their last 38 Tests, they've won 36, losing one and drawing one. Next for them is the Rugby Championship, where they will look to cement combinations and continue their momentum a year out from the Rugby World Cup.