Confident All Blacks dismantle Ireland

Debutant Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries as world champions New Zealand cruised to an easy 42-10 win over Ireland at Eden Park.

Eurosport

Playing their first match under new coach Steve Hansen, New Zealand looked every inch the best team in the world as they withstood some early pressure from the visitors before taking control with their trademark running rugby.

Returning Dan Carter added 17 points with the boot while replacement Adam Thompson and centre Conrad Smith completed the scoring for the All Blacks.

Despite New Zealand opening the scoring with a Dan Carter penalty after five minutes, Ireland made the more confident start to the clash.

The All Blacks, perhaps suffering from only having a week’s preparation for the clash after the Super 15 went into its mid-season break, looked a little shaky in defence as Ireland pushed deep into opposition territory.

They could only come away with three points, however, Jonny Sexton levelling up the clash in the eighth minute.

And the longer the match went on the more the All Blacks, playing their first match since winning the World Cup at Eden Park last November, looking threatening.

Carter put the hosts ahead once more, in the 16th minute, before further extending their lead just three minutes later with a kick from the halfway line.

But it was a moment of brilliance from Conrad Smith that really opened the floodgates for the All Blacks, the centre finding Sonny Bill Williams with a switch inside on the right wing before exhilarating debutant Savea was sent away for his first try.

Carter added the extras before Hurricane Savea, who has scored seven tries in the Super 15 so far this season, added his second. Again, it was Smith who set up the try, finding Savea via Israel Dagg, the 21-year-old using all 105kg of his frame to push his way through Conor Murray and Rob Kearney to touch down.

The decision was sent to the TMO by referee Nigel Owens but there was little doubt about the grounding and Carter added another metronomic kick from the touchline to convert just before the interval.

The break did little to halt the All Blacks onslaught as Savea needed just five minutes after the re-start to complete his hat-trick after a classic piece of New Zealand attacking play.

Carter found Crusaders team-mate Dagg with a perfectly weighted pass, the winger delaying his pass on to Savea until he had his hands through the tackle, allowing the youngster an easy jog over the line.

Ireland did get a consolation try when Fergus McFadden charged the length of the pitch, comfortably beating Richie McCaw for pace to touch down unchallenged.

Sexton added the conversion but it was only a temporary respite for Ireland as Williams and replacement Adam Thompson combined in front of the posts to run through a gaping hole in the Irish defence, only for Carter to misses his easiest kick on the evening.

With the first 60 minutes of the clash having been played a breakneck pace, the quality of the rugby inevitably began to decline towards the end as substitutions also broke up momentum of the match.

But the All Blacks still had a little left in the tank, replacement scrum-half Williams again being involved as he sent Smith over for a well-deserved try in the final minute.

Carter nearly secured a grand-stand finish when he broke down the right wing looking for a try of his own. But he was hauled down 10 metres short of the line and Ireland booted the loose ball into touch to end their misery.

The two teams meet again in Christchurch next Saturday before completing their three-Test series in Hamilton on June 23.

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