The All Blacks ran in 12 tries as they cruised to a 74-6 win over the USA in Chicago. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
This was nothing more than a training exercise for the world champions. An opportunity to expand the All Blacks brand and bring the game to a new audience, they achieved what they would've hoped for on their trip across the Pacific. They played some exhibition rugby at times which pleased the sell-out crowd, but they would've gained very little from a rugby perspective during this outing.
Coach Steve Hansen can be pleased that his frontline players got through the 80 minutes without picking up any needless injuries, and can now turn his attentions to the challenges ahead.
As for the match itself, well there was only ever going to be one result when the world champions met the team ranked 18th in the world, below the likes of Georgia and Romania. The All Blacks scored tries with ease as the hosts slipped tackles and showed themselves nothing more than minnows in the game of rugby.
Spurred on by a boisterous home crowd, the USA took the game to the All Blacks and were well in the match early on, trailing 12-6 after 17 minutes. Despite conceding two relatively soft tries, the USA had shown some continuity on attack, where they even tested the All Blacks' defence as they went in search of their first ever try against the New Zealanders.
However, after that initial positivity, the All Blacks shifted gears and showed the gulf in class between the two teams. They ran in seven tries in the first half, including a brace from the returning Sonny Bill Williams as they showcased the skills that make them the best attacking team on the planet.
The procession continued in the second half, as Dan Carter made his return to the black jersey for the first time since suffering a broken leg during the Super Rugby final. He showed some nice touches and kicked well for posts as the All Blacks closed out their American sojourn in style.
With this roadshow out of the way, the All Blacks can now get down to the serious business, starting with England at Twickenham next week.
USA – Penalties: Adam Siddal (2).
All Blacks – Tries: Nathan Harris, Cory Jane, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sonny Bill Williams (2), Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Joe Moody, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Sam Cane. Conversions: Cruden (4), Dan Carter (3).
USA – 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Brett Thompson, 10 Adam Siddall, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Daniel Barrett, 7 Scott LaValla, 6 Todd Clever, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Olive Kilifi, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Eric Fry.
Subs: 16 Tom Coolican, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Tai Tuisamoa, 20 Louis Stanfill, 21 Shalom Suniula, 22 Folau Niua, 23 Troy Hall.
All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Julian Savea.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images