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All Blacks Class Shines Through.
7 July 2005, 10:16 am
The All Blacks showed their class to push past a spirited Lions side and win the second test - and the series - in Wellington tonight, writes Paul Smith - New Zealand Herald.
The All Blacks showed their class to push past a spirited Lions side and win the second test - and the series - in Wellington tonight, writes Paul Smith - New Zealand Herald.

A remodelled Lions, following their demolition in the first test last week, showed some attacking flair and were let down only by some poor defence on occasion. But the All Blacks, though they started slowly, gradually turned up the heat and secured a convincing win in a thrilling contest.

They scored five tries to the tourists' two. Carter scored the try of the night, kicking through and touching down himself after a break from Rodney So'oialo. And when he converted from the touchline, it gave him 21 points- the most ever scored by an All Black in a test against the Lions. He finished with 33 points, including two tries, and was superb in all areas of his game.

The final score was also a record win for the All Blacks over the Lions. Carter's counterpart Jonny Wilkinson, reinstated to his normal first-five position, never imposed himself on the game and went off on the hour mark with an injured shoulder.

The tourists put up a much stronger performance in the first half than they had last week and scored the first try. Wilkinson had opted to pass with his first touch of the game, setting up Gareth Thomas to break through into the All Blacks 22. From a resulting scrum, Thomas again received the ball and dodged an invisible defence to touch down in just the second minute. Wilkinson converted the try to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.

There had been no repeat of Brian O'Driscoll's controversial response to the haka, with the Lions standing in their tracksuits with their arms-linked. And though there had been predictions that the game could be played in an unpleasant atmosphere after a week of controversy over New Zealand captain Tana Umaga's tackle on O'Driscoll, there was no significant ill-discipline from either side.

Conditions were good with slightly breezy and cool but dry weather and the thousands of British and Irish fans in the crowd made it feel like a home game for the tourists early on. However, as the game went on it slipped away from the Lions and the New Zealand supporters grew in confidence.

Simon Easterby gave the Lions some hope with 15 minutes to play, touching down in the corner despite the efforts of Justin Marshall who had just been brought on for Byron Kelleher.

But the hope was to fade soon after when Carter again made the tackling look poor by breaking through for his second try of the night. Again he converted and the score was 41-18. Richie McCaw added to the Lions' misery with another try in the 77th minute.

Carter then went off with an injury, receiving a standing ovation from both sets of supporters.

In the first half, the All Blacks' first foray into the Lions' 22 had not come until the 12th minute of the game when Carter kicked through. But suddenly they were alive and soon after Carter ran from his own 10-metre line after a turn-over, making light work of weak tackling and setting up Umaga. The captain ran in for the try and put the All Blacks into the lead on 18 minutes.

The Lions put together their first attacking move in some time on 25 minutes, turning an All Blacks' scrum and putting together several phases. With the referee holding an advantage to the Lions, Wilkinson attempted and missed a drop-goal.

The penalty was therefore awarded and the Englishman made no mistake with the kick for goal. With play now flowing from end to end, halfback Kelleher burst through for the All Blacks and was stopped just short of the tryline. A scrum was awarded and New Zealand moved it along the line to Sivivatu who made his way through two Lions defenders to score New Zealand's second try.

All Blacks 48 (Tries: Daniel Carter 2, Tana Umaga, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Richie McCaw; Penalties: Carter 5; Conversions: Carter 4)

Lions 18 (Tries: Gareth Thomas, Simon Easterby; Penalties: Jonny Wilkinson 2; Conversion: Wilkinson)

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