New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

All Blacks overcome spirited Canada




New Zealand put in a mediocre performance to beat a spirited Canada side 64-13 in front of a sold-out Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

The Canucks put up a good fight and were just six points adrift when New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore went over on cusp of half-time to give the home team a 26-13 half-time lead.

The floodgates duly opened after the break and Canada were forced into some tackling practice which certainly needs some more attention.

ALl Blacks fly-half Dan Carter scored a hat-trick of tries on the night and pocketed a personal tally of 29 points to overtake Andrew Merhtens’s All Black record for points in a Test match.

Carter, who missed last week’s 61-10 win over France with an ankle injury, kicked seven conversions from 10 attempts on his return.

Canada full-back Mike Pyke ran almost the length of the field to score a lone intercept try while wing James Pritchard landed the conversion and two penalties before the visitors ran out of steam in the second half.

In a game the All Blacks had little to gain from, the good news was that no more New Zealand locks or players succumbed to injury ahead of what could a testing Tri-Nations campaign.

The All Blacks were scratchy and at times woeful against Canada, making far too many uncharacteristic errors.

Although the home team scored 10 tries to one, they were left wondering what could have been with the All Blacks struggling with their combinations and rhythm.

Huge question marks also remain over the New Zealand performance at ruck and maul time. The ball carriers were isolated forcing turnovers on far too many occasions.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry will have to work on his team’s lack of precision and patience heading into their Tri-Nations campaign that kicks off next weekend against South Africa in Durban.

However, it was a good night for the All Blacks’ debutants. New boy John Schwalger celebrated his first test with a try and lock Ross Filipo survived a late injury scare to complete a solid performance.

It was certainly a game of two halves. The first belonging to the Canadians and the second was all New Zealand’s.

Winger Sitivini Sivivatu waltzed through the Canadian forward pack to score in the opening minutes of the game that would certainly be rated as his easiest of his 17 Test tries.

Sivivatu then turned provider for the second try with a precise cut-out pass floated over Mils Muliaina and Aaron Mauger to enable Luke McAlister to cross over in the left-hand corner with ease.

McAlister’s try gave the capacity crowd of 25,000 a reason to believe they would see a try-scoring bonanza.

However, someone forgot to tell the visitors they were not meant to be playing as well as they did, constantly disrupting the All Blacks usual game flow wherever they could.

The Canucks’ highlight of the match came when tall full-back Mike Pyke intercepted a pass from Carter meant for Mils Muliaina to race 90 metres down the right-hand touchline to score.

Sivivatu put in a dedicated chase, but the Montauban full-back had enough steam in his engine to go all the way.

Pritchard, who opened Canada’s account with a 14th minute penalty, added the extras to allow Canada to narrow the margin to 12-10 in the 22nd minute, hushing the capacity crowd.

Schwalger was able to save the All Blacks some embarrassment by diving over in the corner thanks to a well-timed McAlister pass.

Carter kicked the touchline conversion to make the score 19-10, but Canada were full of confidence at this stage and fought back to earn a penalty that Pritchard slotted with ease.

Nobody could have guessed the visitors would be trailing the All Blacks by six points with half-time just a couple of minutes away.

With the half-time siren sounded, Canada spirits were shattered when Hore powered over from a blindside move to give

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