A record crowd were on hand to watch a thrilling display of running rugby from the World Champion All Blacks, as they defeated the USA Eagles 74-6 in Chicago. As expected, it was one-way traffic, but great exposure for rugby in the the United States.
There was plenty of hype and fanfare before of the match, which was ultimately a marketing exercise and a gentle warm-up for New Zealand ahead of their tour of the UK.
While the Eagles looked good with ball in hand early on, once the All Blacks asserted their dominance up front, the missed tackles and lack of organisation showed, as the visitors ran riot. Twelve tries were scored in total as fans watched on in both horror and delight at what unfolded.
The NBC commentary team were amusing, and full of praise for the ‘dreamteam’, who despite what they said about there being no such thing as an All Blacks second team, fielded an experimental starting fifteen that was a mixture of youth and experience.
Sonny Bill Williams made his Test rugby return and scored two tries, while Dan Carter came off the bench in the second half. He threw a forward pass with his first touch, but then got into the swing of things and had a good thirty minutes, helping his side to a comfortable, one-sided victory.
”When the boys were dominating up front like they were, it was awesome to just run off the back of that,” said Williams, who limped off with a hip injury but should recover for the rest of the tour.
”I’ve come back a bit raw but I’m just trying to improve each week.”
Ultimately the game was a success despite the result. Over 61 500 fans packed Soldier Field, in what was a capacity crowd and the largest ever attendance for rugby in the USA. Those fans would have been disappointed to see their side rolled over so easily, but they knew what they were in for, and it will have been a great experience to watch the AB’s in such dominant mood.
You can watch a full match replay (certain territories) via the same live feed link. Details here
What are your thoughts on the occasion, the USA side and the All Blacks combinations? Let us know in the comments below