Rugby - New Zealand cruise past Scotland

New Zealand ran in six tries as they posted an emphatic 51-22 win over Scotland at Murrayfield in the first of their autumn international fixtures.

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Rugby - New Zealand cruise past Scotland
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New Zealand's Israel Dagg scores a try during their Autumn Test rugby union match against Scotland at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland (Reuters)

Julian Savea grabbed a brace of tries, added to by scores from Israel Dagg, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane and Ben Smith, while man-of-the-match Dan Carter added 21 points with the boot.

Scotland will be pleased to have scored three tries of their own, Tim Visser touching down once in either half, sandwiching Geoff Cross’s try on the stroke of half-time while Greg Laidlaw added two conversions and a penalty.

But it was in defence that Scotland were mainly found lacking, New Zealand running the angles and finding holes to run through time and again.

Scotland made a bright start to the match, despite Carter giving the All Blacks the lead with a penalty in just the third minute, Matt Scott providing a moment of brilliance to intercept a wayward Carter pass.

Scott clearly did not have the legs to reach the line after the interception but with Visser also reacting quickly the hosts made New Zealand pay for a spot of complacency and scored the first try of the day, much to the delight of the crowd.

The All Blacks quickly bounced back with a try of their own, Israel Dagg crossing over after a Carter break, but the bright start had buoyed Scotland, who regained the lead when Laidlaw kicked his only penalty of the day.

With 24 minutes on the clock and the scores tied at 10-10, things were looking good for Scotland. But just 15 minutes later and things had gone horribly wrong for the hosts as they approached the interval trailing 34-10.

First Carter added a third penalty before putting Savea over for his first try of the afternoon. The conversion followed and just one minute later Carter was called into kicking action again as Jane crossed over for his try; a typical New Zealand score with the ball having passed through the hands of skipper Richie McCaw, Adam Thompson, Tamati Ellison, Smith and Beauden Barrett before Jane touched down.

The flurry of points was not finished yet, however, as New Zealand added insult to injury when the scored a third try in five minutes, Hore this time forcing his way over the line for a forwards try to leave the Scots reeling.

Credit should go to the hosts though as they refused to give in, receiving a penalty in the New Zealand half and hammering away until they final found a way through.

Scotland thought they might have broken through with Scott only for the Television Match Official to decide he had been held up by the leg of Piri Weepu. But, being allowed to reset as they were playing advantage, despite the clock showing five minutes over the allotted 40 minutes of the first half) Cross took his chance, picking up from the base of the ruck and diving over the line before McCaw could stop him

Laidlaw added the extras to end the half on a more positive note for the hosts but the damage was already done in terms of winning the match.

However, head coach Andy Robinson will be pleased with his side’s second half performance, despite a late try from New Zealand that made the score look even more one-sided.

Scotland took full advantage of a one-man overlap when Thompson was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes for a stamp to the head of Alasdair Strokosch.

New Zealand tried to run the ball from their own half only for Laidlaw to get a toe to the ball when Ellison went to ground. The ball popped out perfectly for Visser, who stooped to pick up the ball and dive over the line unchallenged for his second of the day.

The All Blacks, however, did what they do best and slowly but surely battled their way back into control. Carter added a third penalty in the 55th minute before putting Savea over for his second. A neat little chip across field for the 22-year-old winger sat up into his arms, who then showed his blistering pace to accelerate away for the try.

Carter again added the conversion before also setting up the final try, rolling off the tackle of Max Evans before feeding Smith on the outside of him, the NZ winger again able to dive over the line unchallenged.

Scotland were in possession late in the second half as the clock ticked over to the 80 minute mark but there was no way through the All Blacks’ defence, eventually being pushed out of play to put a stop to things.

Scotland continue their autumn international series against South Africa next Saturday while New Zealand over to Rome to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

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