Praise poured on All Blacks     27 Nov 2006    

A sample of comments follows:

The Scotsman:

"The next 20 minutes was a masterclass. New Zealand's profitable use of turnover ball is much talked about, but it is more than that. Any possession sees them quickly get men into areas where they can create danger. All their players read what is in front them in an instant, sizing up where the opposition are weak or ill-organised.

"Wales attempted to play their fluid, high tempo game, but such was the technique and ferocity of the All Black tackling, that Welsh optimism deflated as rapidly as an England supporter at the Gabba. Big Ian Evans, the mid-line jumper, was asked to take ball up a couple of times, only to be dismissed like the colt he so recently was."

The Sunday Times:

"Hopes were high that Wales would at least give New Zealand a full-throttle challenge at the breakdown. Again, they were totally outplayed by a superb New Zealand side that not only showed kamikaze commitment, but also hit the tackle earlier and lower and harder, and was much smarter when it came to pilfering."

Wales on Sunday:

"Wales talked the talk about being able to look their greatest rugby rivals in the eye, but they were completely blown away.

"In fact, Jenkins' side were lucky to be second best after an almost perfect display of the modern game by the visitors in a rampant first-half performance.
"We all know the All Blacks are the best rugby side on the planet and they certainly proved that, again, against Wales.

"This was their 32nd victory out of the last 36 internationals.

"That's why they are favourites to lift the World Cup in 2007 and you could probably scrap the tournament in France now and just give them the trophy.

"Yes, they are that good and they didn't even get out of second gear on this tour of Europe. Wales were put to the sword in the same brutal fashion as England and France.

But are the All Blacks awesome and where does this leave Wales? Coach Jenkins knew his side's performance in the final game of the Autumn campaign was where he would be judged.

"On this performance, Wales have work to do if they have genuine ambitions to be contenders for the next World Cup.

"They were second best in almost every facet of this game, and the All Blacks power and pace proved too much to handle."

The Observer:

"This was a masterclass by the All Blacks. The only thing they got wrong was not doing the haka in public before the game, a prickliness over protocol that revealed a certain pomposity. The Welsh had wanted to reply to the haka with their national anthem, but the All Blacks did not like the traditional running order to be messed around with, so they performed it for themselves in the privacy of their changing room. The haka, for all that the All Blacks give it spirituality, is only an extra bit of theatre, and they chose not to deliver this particular piece in public. But for the rest of the day they were utterly sublime."

The Sunday Telegraph:

"It is difficult to know where to start with praise for the All Blacks.
Sitiveni Sivivatu grabbed a hat-trick but Jerry Collins was still man of the match in an outstanding back row. Richie McCaw was everywhere, one ruck where he drove through on a startled Stephen Jones typifying his low-to-the-ground raw power. He played close to the edge of the laws as he always does. 'Please God let him be sent off,' the whole of Wales prayed when he was lectured by referee Dave Pearson in the first half.

"Sadly he was not. By the time he was after 56 minutes it was too late. Dan Carter, with 16 points, wasn't too shabby either. But that goes without saying really. His four penalties also emphasised the All Blacks' ruthlessness."