All Blacks thrash USA in mismatch of epic proportions

Author
Liam Napier, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 24 Oct 2021, 10:45AM
Angus Ta'avao heads for the tryline during the All Blacks' big win over the USA in Washington DC. (Photo / Photosport)
Angus Ta'avao heads for the tryline during the All Blacks' big win over the USA in Washington DC. (Photo / Photosport)

All Blacks thrash USA in mismatch of epic proportions

Author
Liam Napier, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 24 Oct 2021, 10:45AM

All Blacks 104 USA 14

Ugly is the only way to describe the record thrashing the All Blacks handed the United States on Sunday morning at FedEx Field in Maryland.

A mismatch of epic proportions was predicted, and that's exactly what transpired as the All Blacks ran in 16 tries to record their largest win over the USA, easily eclipsing the 74-6 margin the last time these teams met in Chicago in 2014.

TJ Perenara's final try cracked the century with the last play to give the All Blacks their third highest tally of all time behind only the 108 they scored against Portugal at the 2007 World Cup, and the 145-17 rout of Japan in 1995.

In July this year the All Blacks notched the 102-0 victory over a heavily depleted Tongan side at Mt Smart Stadium - a match that did little for either team.

This test falls in the same category.

Prior to kickoff both teams made touching tributes to Sean Wainui, the Chiefs and New Zealand Māori backline utility who died in a car crash near Tauranga on Monday.

The USA presented the All Blacks with a jersey featuring No 11 on the back; the All Blacks held an 11 second moment of silence before a passionate haka.

Once the match began, however, a one-sided procession exposed the gulf in class that looked as though it was amateurs against professionals.

Luke Jacobson opened the scoring after 29 seconds, Will Jordan claimed a hat-trick, and at times it took Richie Mo'unga longer to covert tries than it did the All Blacks to dot down.

The All Blacks led 59-7 after amassing nine first half tries – their third biggest half time lead in history.

Richie Mo'unga breaks into space during the All Blacks' thrashing of USA in Washington DC. Photosport

Richie Mo'unga breaks into space during the All Blacks' thrashing of USA in Washington DC. Photosport

With this match scheduled outside the designated test window the USA were always on a hiding to nothing after six of their leading players returned to European clubs following their loss to Uruguay.

Regardless of those challenges, this was a humbling portrayal of the USA's rugby credentials.

The purpose of this match was to bank New Zealand Rugby $3-4 million. In future, however, it will be increasingly difficult to justify sending the fully fledged All Blacks team to the States if this is the level of competition they can expect to confront.

The USA savoured their first tries against the All Blacks – halfback Nate Augspurger stepping Damian McKenzie to claim that honour just before halftime, and left wing Ryan Matyas crossing in the corner in the second half.

Nate Augspurger scores goes a try for the home side during an international rugby match between the USA Eagles and the All Blacks in Washington DC. Photosport

Nate Augspurger scores goes a try for the home side during an international rugby match between the USA Eagles and the All Blacks in Washington DC. Photosport

Otherwise, though, their soft defence left a lot to be desired with the All Blacks scoring at will.

Chiefs second five-eighth Quinn Tupaea, in his fifth test, was a standout for the All Blacks. His direct running, option-taking and offloading pushing his case for further game time.

Lock Tupou Vaa'i featured prominently, too, as did Jordan's gliding presence that popped up all over the Washington NFL team's home patch.

Blues halfback Finlay Christie, in his maiden test start, impressed with his speed to the base, support lines and crisp delivery allowing the All Blacks to blow the USA away in the first half with relentless pace and tempo.

Loose forwards Jacobson and Hoskins Sotutu also had a field day in the wide channels in the first half while Taranaki and Chiefs lock Josh Lord made his test debut after coming off the bench in the 58th minute to replace captain Sam Whitelock.

As tends to be the case when such exaggerated leads are racked up, the All Blacks lost their way in the second half with the introduction of the bench disrupting flow. Pushed passed and penalties contributed to a ragged second spell, though they will be thankful to reintroduce veterans Sam Cane and Dane Coles.

The first stop in the All Blacks five-match northern tour is in the books. The sooner they move on the better.

All Blacks: Luke Jacobson 2, Ethan de Groot, Will Jordan 3, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga, Angus Ta'avao 2, Quinn Tupaea, Dalton Papalii, Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, TJ Perenara tries, Richie Mo'unga con 10, Damian McKenzie con

USA: Nate Augspurger tries, Ryan Matyas, Luke Carty con 2

HT: 7-59