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Ioane leaves his mark on northern critics

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    26 Nov 2017     Getty Images

John said in his Wales on Sunday column, "Ioane doesn't just linger and loiter out wide waiting for the ball, he comes inside and makes things happen. As was the case for his second try from a scrum, proof that you can score from first phase in modern day rugby against so-called impregnable modern day defences."

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He said the All Blacks looked vulnerable in the first half of their 33-18 win but that changed in the second half.

"They just possessed this incredible ability to play below par, withstand enormous Welsh pressure, yet like a champion boxer turn the match on its head with a couple of lethal combinations and sucker punches," he said.

Other reaction to the win follows:

Wales on Sunday: "So the wait goes on…Breathless, Ferocious, Modern Test rugby combat is hardly for the faint-hearted, but every now and again along comes an encounter that jolts you for it's sheer intensity, ferocity and relentlessness.

"This was one of those, and it was compelling from start to finish.

"Some of the tackling was simply brutal, while the pace of the play was breathless.

"The All Blacks' triumph was staying in the game while Wales emptied the tank in the first half."
The Observer (1): "It was absolutely not a routine afternoon for New Zealand, however. Without their injured totem Kieran Read to steady things and with no consistent forward platform they could only rely on their wits. The All Blacks' stunning finishing ability was the only thing the hosts could not quite match…

"In past years under Gatland they have hit the front only to falter in the final quarter. Could they cling on this time? History suggested not and when Ioane slipped a couple of tackles and threw a bouncing ball inside to the lurking [Anton] Lienert-Brown towards the end of the third quarter it was due reward for the impact of All Blacks' forward replacements. Once Ioane had intercepted Biggar's pass to score his side's fourth, there could be no way back."

The Observer (2):
"Hell's bells, what a game. They'll need to get the plumbers in to the Principality Stadium to refit the kitchen sink Wales tore out and heaved at the All Blacks. They came at them with everything they had, body, heart, soul, hymns, arias, and all. And it still wasn't enough.

"They made more mistakes than you can get away with against a team as sharp as this New Zealand side, even at the end of a long, gruelling year of Test rugby…

"At the end of it all, they had lost to New Zealand again, their 30th straight defeat, in a series that is beginning to feel something like a curse."
The Sunday Telegraph: "A huge slab of imposing precedent, no win in 29 Tests (15 of them in Cardiff) stretching back over 64 years, indicated that Wales would have to rise to a sustained level to cause an upset.

"And they did. They took the game to the All Blacks, hitting hard, punching forward before fizzing it wide. After half an hour, Wales had a remarkable 80-20 percent advantage in terms of possession, and had forced New Zealand to make 81 tackles to 11 of their own, yet still they trailed.

"That's why New Zealand are world champions: sometimes they shred you, other times they counter-punch ruthlessly. But Wales did not wilt, did not stop believing as Scott Williams' try on the stroke of half-time following a big bust by Hallam Amos showed….

"A flicker of hope [after Gareth Davies' try] was quickly extinguished when Ioane showed what a world-class talent he is when cutting a lovely wide arc round from a scrum to touch down. It was a suitably splendid sign-off by the All Blacks, who are simply superb."

The Sunday Times:
"Despite 29 consecutive losses to New Zealand, the Welsh showed not a scintilla of timidity as they thundered into the All Blacks from the start.

"The touring side were ready for it. Through the opening half, they spent twice as much time tackling as their rivals, 93 tackles to Wales' 45. The home team crossed the gain line 41 times, the All Blacks 18. How the Kiwis reached the interval with a 12-11 lead is a mystery easily unravelled. They had greater scoring potential."