A Spirited Welsh Performance Against a Physical New Zealand Side

Wales 5 - 13 New Zealand

Brave Wales went down to a potent All Blacks side who were lethal at finishing opportunities in a physical World Championships group showdown.

They jumped to a 5-0 lead as Wales struggled to settle in the early morning game played under blazing sunshine.

Mistakes were ruthlessly punished by the Clayton trio, from Colorado University, who formed a lethal family unit up front.

The Kiwis hustled hard and their intensity unsettled the Dragons early on but such is the tenacity of the squad that they raised their tempo to match the All Blacks for the final three quarters after Skipper Paul Simpson lifted spirits with a neatly taken goal from an Eoin Dunne feed.

At 5-1 down, Wales had to gather composure but both teams started the 2nd quarter with repeated errors as the game became scrappy.

The Welsh attack enjoyed some settled possession without telling penetration but a rapid NZ clear allowed them to stretch to 7-1 which was quickly followed by a clinical close range finish for 8-1.

The Kiwi defence pressured hard throughout but Rhod Evans performed the take away of the day that had a Clayton stick cartwheeling through the air. It fired up the Dragons and when a ball was spilled in front the Kiwi goal, a huge scrap was won by Wales and Dave Howie slotted home for 2-8.

The Kiwis responds quickly for 9-2 at half time and then capitalised on a man up to go further in front. Howie grabbed another, dropping his shoulder to bounce a defender out of the way and finish top corner.

James Richardson had another inspiring game in goal, saving well and launching quick attacks. The best goal of the game from his clear to Ryan Walker who out sprinted the cover before delivering to Steve McDermott at pace arrow ing to the heart of the defence and the classic fast break was finished off sweetly by Simpson.

Jonny Harry then slotted home low coming round the post on man up to make it 5-11 going into the final quarter.

Rhod Evans was dislocating the Clayton threat but the All Blacks continued to play high tempo all over the field and the game finished 5-13 with NZ winning the group.

Wales were bitterly disappointed to have allowed the Kiwis to get in front early but will draw positives from their commitment and team fight.


Q Scores: 1-5, 2-9, 5-11, 5-13

Scorers: Dave Howie 2, Paul Simpson 2, Johnny Harry



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