All Black captain Richie McCaw takes on Scotland's Mike
Blair during the teams' test at Murrayfield Stadium in
Edinburgh. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
A New Zealand side mixing experienced heads and fledgling
internationals underlined their strength in depth without ever
hitting top gear to overrun Scotland 51-22 in their opening
European tour match.
The world champions, with 10 changes from the team who drew
18-18 with Australia last month to end a winning streak of 16
matches, crossed for six tries at Murrayfield.
As usual throughout the majority of his 93-cap career, it was
the unerring boot, vision, dazzling breaks and pinpoint
distribution of first five Dan Carter that stood out.
Israel Dagg, Julian Savea, Cory Jane and Andrew Hore went
over in the first half. Savea scored the try of the game
after the break thanks to Carter's exquisite chip, Ben Smith
added a late effort while Carter kicked 21 points.
Scotland, beaten by pace - especially out wide - and great
handling but never afraid to mix it up front, did pose
problems of their own with wing Tim Visser touching down
twice and Geoff Cross scoring another.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said he would field all his
squad for the games against world number nine Scotland and
Italy in Rome next Saturday, before the All Blacks face
sterner tests against Wales in Cardiff and then England at
Scotland, bottom in the Six Nations before restoring morale
with an unbeaten southern hemisphere tour that brought wins
over Australia, Fiji and Samoa in June, have never beaten the
All Blacks and have now lost 27 of their 29 encounters
stretching back to 1905.
The omens appeared bleak for the Scots, beaten 49-3 on New
Zealand's last visit to Murrayfield in 2010, after less than
a minute when they were penalised and Carter kicked the
Carter missed another shot at goal before Scotland, against
the run of play, stunned the world champions with an opening
try thanks to Matt Scott's interception.
Scott could not finish himself but had Visser on his shoulder
and the Dutch-born wing touched down.
The Scots' elation lasted barely five minutes as Carter twice
broke through a flimsy defence for fullback Dagg to glide
New Zealand had gone tryless against Australia, the first
time since 2005, a run of 105 fixtures, and were in the mood
Greig Laidlaw and Carter traded penalties before the All
Blacks went over again from a sweeping move that exposed
Scotland on both flanks.
From their own half, Victor Vito was allowed to scamper down
the right touchline and, when the marauding number eight was
finally halted, the ball was worked across the pitch for left
wing Savea to dive over.
Savea's fellow wing Jane then got in on the act, again
clinically finishing off in the corner following superb
handling and hooker Andrew Hore added another.
The Scots rallied in the closing seconds of a fast and
furious opening half, prop Geoff Cross bulldozing over from
the base of a ruck to trail 34-17 at the break.
New Zealand lost flank Adam Thomson to the sin-bin for
mis-use of his feet early in the second half but despite good
position, a lineout mistake from the Scots relieved the
But not to be outdone, the All Blacks then erred when Tamati
Ellison opted to run from deep in his half and the Scots
pounced on the inexperienced centre, the ball breaking loose
for Visser to gallop over.
Hansen's side needed to show their defensive qualities as the
hosts enjoyed a strong 15-minute spell but any lingering
hopes of a comeback were ended when Carter had the vision to
chip over the top for Savea to collect at pace, step inside
and burst clear.
Smith's late try and Carter's conversion brought up the
half-century of points.