New Zealand have claimed another series with a second victory over the Welsh.
The men in red went down 36-22, although the score line somewhat compliments the Welsh performance. Other than Liam Williams, the Welsh team never looked like breaking down the All Black’s defence resulting in long periods of scrappy play for Wales riddled with handling errors.
Wales, however, started well and opened the scoring through the boot of Dan Biggar. In classic Kiwi fashion the all Blacks hit back. Israel Daag crossed the white wash as Jonathan Davies flew out of the defensive line creating a dog leg in the defence for the all blacks to run in to.
Davies made amends for his mistake cutting a whole in the New Zealand defence before offloading to lively Liam Williams. The platform was set and Davies threw a miss pass to Alyn Wyn Jones to touch down in the corner. Biggar added the extras and the teams were tied at half time.
Despite the contribution to the try Davies seemed to have a lack of life, his decision making was poor and his kicks were aimless.
After the break, as expected, the All Blacks asserted their dominance and eased their way to victory.
Ben Smith glided over followed by an excellent bit of individual brilliance from Beaudan Barret who used his fast feet to jink his way under the posts.
Naholo and Savea completed the batch of tries that were answered by the welsh until the dying moments of the game. Liam Williams struck a fantastic line to open up the New Zealand defence and at the very last Roberts gathered a misplaced chip to run from 22 to 22 hold off Barret and get the ball away for Davies to finish off the move. As if it were any consolation.
The tour in New Zealand has proved for Wales that change is mandatory. They cannot continue to rely on size and structure and keep neglecting flare. Warren Gatland’s game plan failed to break the All Blacks down and they had no answer for natural rugby ability.
Wales lack creativity and even the Welsh World Cup hero, Dan Biggar, has been unable to influence the game. Players have been in the team for too long and can get away with average performances because of their names. Roberts, Davies and Warburton – who have started back to back World Cups are not putting in the performances the Welsh fans have come to expect.
Liam Williams, Wales’ best player today, was the best player because of his willingness to forget the structure and play the game as he sees it. Ross Moriarty also added a freshness to the team this series in the absence of Dan Lydiate.
Wales need an injection of flare for them to remain a competitor in national rugby.