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All Black finish season on a high

Rieko Ioane of New Zealand breaks through to score his sides fifth try

The All Blacks ended their long season with a 33-18 victory in Cardiff over Wales, sealed by three tries in the second half.

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However, they only had a 12-11 lead at halftime after the Welsh enjoyed an 80 per cent possession advantage in the first 40 minutes.

Wales opened the scoring with a Leigh Halfpenny penalty, and successfully managed to deny the All Blacks any ball till the 15 minute mark. The first break by Aaron Smith was telling though, as he ran 30 metres upfield to link with Waisake Naholo for the opening try.

Naholo dotted down again in the 38th minute, but Wales hit back with a lovely try to Scott Williams just on the stroke of halftime.

Halfpenny couldn’t convert but Wales would’ve headed to the sheds full of confidence. That was dashed by Anton Lienart-Brown in the 57th minute, who latched on to a Rieko Ioane break. Ioane then picked off Dan Biggar to make the score comfortable.

Replacement halfback Gareth Davies gave the Welsh some hope with a try soon after, but Ioane then burst through the defensive line off a scrum to seal victory for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks now head home for the summer, with a record of 13 wins, two losses and a draw for the year.

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Meanwhile Wales should be buoyed by their showing in the first half going into the 6 Nations.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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