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The Age

Rampaging All Blacks crush Wales

Date: 01/12/1997
Words: 541
          Publication: The Age
Section: SPORT
Page: 17
London, Sunday

New Zealand produced another scintillating performance of high-speed rugby union to crush Wales 42-7 in a one-off Test at Wembley yesterday.

Full-back Christian Cullen led the way with three tries to cap a superb all-round performance. Taine Randell and Justin Marshall both scored a try.

Andrew Mehrtens kicked 14 points and Zinzan Brooke finished the job with a drop goal. Wales replied with a converted Nigel Walker try.

Playing at Wembley while Cardiff Arms Park is being rebuilt for the 1999 World Cup, Wales had magnificent support in a capacity crowd of 75,000, but was ultimately outclassed by an irresistible sporting force.

"I was delighted with the performance," said New Zealand coach John Hart. "It was an altogether more intense, accurate effort than last week against England."

From the kick-off the All Blacks spent the first six minutes camped in the Welsh 22.

The opening try went to Randell after the flanker exploded through with a 30-metre run.

Mehrtens added a penalty and then showed that there is far more to his game than kicking when his lightning-quick pass set up Jonah Lomu.

This time a trio of Welshmen pulled down the winger and Nigel Walker was similarly effective on Jeff Wilson on the opposite wing soon after that.

But the gaps opened inside and, in the 21st minute, Cullen duly strolled through one to score under the posts.

Wales tried to get into the game and came close after half an hour, only for Frank Bunce to strip the ball from Neil Jenkins' grasp just as the fly-half was about to touch down.

The next New Zealand try came courtesy of good work by Robin Brooke, whose clever dummy sent in Cullen for his second.

Mehrtens converted and slotted another penalty to make it 25-0 at half-time.

It took only three minutes of the second half for the All Blacks to cook up another great try.

Cullen finished it after superb work by Wilson and the ever-supporting Zinzan Brooke.

A series of injuries and substitutions, including the appearance of Sean Fitzpatrick, knocked the touring team out of its rhythm for a while and it needed the forwards to get things back on track.

Battering-ram pressure, followed by a solid five-metre scrum, enabled scrum-half Marshall to spin over the line.

Wales finally got on the scoreboard in the 67th minute when Gareth Llewellyn, celebrating his 60th cap, enabled Walker to score. Jenkins converted with his only shot at goal all afternoon.

New Zealand, which plays England at Twickenham next Saturday, is hoping to make it 12 wins out of 12 in a gruelling year.

A BRILLIANT individual try from centre Andre Snyman inspired South Africa to a 29-11 victory over England in their one-off rugby Test in London yesterday.

Twelve minutes into the second half, with South Africa trailing 11-7, Snyman cut through the England back line with a dummy to his left and sprinted 40 metres to score, side-stepping impressive home full-back Matt Perry.

Five minutes after Snyman's effort, outstanding lock Mark Andrews crashed over for the Springboks' third try in the left corner to set up a 19-11 lead.

Scrum-half Werner Swanepoel added another, two minutes from the end, as South Africa put England under intense pressure.

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