International Rugby, Opinions

Rampant Rieko keeps All Blacks on top of the world

Rieko Ioane scored twice in the second half as the All Blacks beat Wales for the 30th successive time and ended the season as the world’s best team for the ninth successive year.

The All Blacks won 33-18 in Cardiff to finish an unbeaten five match (three Test) Northern Hemisphere tour.

The All Blacks, who drew the three-Test series one-all with the British and Irish Lions, also won all six matches in defending the Rugby Championship. They also kept the Bledisloe Cup with a two-one series win against the Wallabies.

The All Blacks 2017 season of 11 wins, one draw and two defeats in Tests and 13 wins, one draw and two defeats in all matches, is their worst return in the last eight years. That, in its own is a testament to the incredible consistency of New Zealand’s domination of the global game.

The All Blacks, minus eight of their first choice players, produced an inspiring opening 20 minutes defensive effort. During this time they only had 20 percent possession and made 76 tackles to the 11 of Wales. Yet they still lead 7-3, changed ends 12-11 ahead and then extended the lead to 26-11 before Wales scored with 15 minutes to go to reduce the score to 26-18.

Ioane then scored a brilliant try from a seven-man New Zealand scrum feed to seal the win and consign another brave Welsh effort to defeat.

Fellow wing Waisake Naholo was also outstanding in his finishing to score the All Blacks’s first two tries of the match.

In other international action, Ireland beat Argentina 28-17 and England hammered Samoa 48-14 and Scotland walloped the Wallabies in a record 53-24 win at Murrayfield.

The Springboks also won for the second successive weekend to beat Italy 35-6.

The Springboks complete their season against Wales in Cardiff next weekend.

 

 

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