The All Blacks have put 60 on Fiji. Video / Sky Sports
All Blacks 60 Fiji 13
Satisfaction will be much more prevalent after the All Blacks signed their July series appetizer with a clinical victory over Fiji that solidified several of Ian Foster’s top picks.
Widely criticized for their muddled effort and lack of urgency at the blackout, in last week’s 34-point victory over Fiji in Dunedin, the All Blacks delivered a markedly improved performance in the repeated duel with the Pacific Islanders at Hamilton.
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The 20,135 locals – the largest crowd of three tests this month – who braved wet and windy conditions were treated to nine tries for the All Blacks. While that’s the same number as last week, the All Blacks were more dominant in most aspects.
Richie Mo’unga took his chance to impress Foster and maintain his advantage over Beauden Barrett in the top five-eighth with an influential display. Mo’unga took part in four tries – three involving in-form Crusaders teammate Sevu Reece – to firmly defend his claims before being substituted after 52 minutes.
Collectively, the All Blacks forwards brought a much more direct approach to their carry, which put the team in the spotlight and allowed the backline to breathe easier than last week when Fiji hushed up the breakdown and forced an indecisive decision-making process.
Sam Whitelock’s authority in reclaiming the Harbor Master’s Office was also evident in the way he gathered his troops into a group during the first half and barked orders to reflect the influence he commands.
Akira Ioane, Luke Jacobson and Ardie Savea varied their work and combined well in the loose trio – Savea bursting in to collect a try and celebrate her 50th test. Anton Lienert-Brown was calmer in his 50th test after returning from elbow surgery, but will undoubtedly be better for the race alongside David Havili.
Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho – called up at the end of the week to replace Dane Coles – made a noticeable impression on the bench, winning two tries on his test debut and carrying with power like he did all the time. the season.
Rieko Ioane, likewise, injected significant impact from the bench when he replaced Will Jordan on the right wing early in the second half.
The All Blacks will be delighted that their melee and rolling maul continue to pose dominant platforms and with the utmost urgency they brought to their defensive duties – highlighted by Damian McKenzie and Barrett who rushed to do a test tackle after Ben Volavola intercepted an interception.
Fiji managed to score one try – the mainstay peni Ravai easily wandering around in the back of a maul – but unlike last week, they never entered this contest.
Supporting last week’s inspired performance – Fiji had never faced the All Blacks in successive matches before – proved a bridge too far, especially with referee Damon Murphy controlling the breakdown much more strictly than he did. in Dunedin. Poor discipline from Fiji – they conceded 14 penalties – proved their downfall throughout.
With Tonga and Fiji as opponents, July was always going to be an aperitif for the Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship for the All Blacks.
As is often the case this time of year, the All Blacks didn’t immediately click – in part because of the massive changes Foster made each week in an effort to gain depth and experiment for find your first-class team.
On this evidence, many of those who featured prominently tonight will hold onto their places for Bledisloe’s opener on August 7, when another big step is needed.
It was another erratic start for the All Blacks, with Fiji opening them up in midfield and controlling the opening rallies. The All Blacks’ roster went awry at times and McKenzie gave a full kick to allow Fiji to set the tone at the start.
Once the All Blacks settled in, their attack went smoothly with Mo’unga pulling the strings. Havili continued his impressive comeback in the try-out arena by hitting a flat pass from Mo’unga, crossing the line and sending Reece on his first try with a ball inside.
Fiji couldn’t duplicate their stifling and frustrating efforts during the blackout, with Referee Murphy frequently calling visitors for derailing, which for long stretches of the first spell reduced the match to a stop-show spectacle. start.
Mo’unga placed Reece’s second with a perfectly executed short sideline. Aaron Smith shot blind from the scrum to repel Mo’unga and he brilliantly held the pass to send Reece off.
Murphy eventually lost patience to send Fijian captain Leone Nakarawa to the trash for repeated team infractions – right after Reece collected his third from a wobbly Mo’unga jumped ball – to compound challenges containing the All Blacks.
Savea crashed after two solid straight runs from Akira Ioane and George Bower to establish a 29-6 halftime lead and send Fiji a clear message that there would be no slack.
This proved to be the case with the All Blacks continuing to rack up the points in the second spell with their bench adding impact and Fiji making few breakthroughs.
As an exercise, the All Blacks will learn more from last week, when they were seriously tested, than in this more comfortable victory.
But, for now at least, they can move on to the next phase of the season with confidence, having changed several areas of concern.
All Blacks 60 (Sevu Reece 3, Samisoni Taukei’aho 2, Ardie Savea, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Shannon Frizell tries; Richie Mo’unga 5 vs, pen, Beauden Barrett con)
Fiji 13 (Try Peni Ravai; Ben Volavola con, 2 pens)