All Blacks thrash USA in try-fest

New Zealand are back to their winning ways, romping to a 104-14 victory over the United States during a test match in which the Eagles secured their first-ever try against the Kiwis

The All Blacks, who had not played in the US since 2016, looked comfortable in their first match since their 10-match winning streak was snapped by South Africa in the final game of the Rugby Championship.

Billed as the 1874 Cup, a reference to the first account of organised rugby being played in the US, the match in Maryland was designed to grow interest in a nation hoping to stage a future Rugby World Cup.

Prior to the start, American captain Bryce Campbell dropped to one knee at centre field as he presented a white, No 11 US jersey in honour of Sean Wainui, the Maori All Blacks player who died in a car crash on Monday.

Lead singer Matiu Walters from Dunedin band Six60 sung the New Zealand national anthem while wearing a No 11 Maori All Blacks jersey.

The All Blacks then performed the haka to honour Wainui, drawing wild applause from those in attendance before the visitors made a blockbuster start to the test match at the home of the NFL's Washington Football Team.

Straight off the kickoff the ball got shifted wide and George Bridge got away down the wing and fed Finlay Christie, who found Luke Jacobson on the inside and he ran away to score in the corner 28 seconds into the match.

Southland's Ethan de Groot added to the huge scoreline against the USA Eagles with a try. Photo:...
Southland's Ethan de Groot added to the huge scoreline against the USA Eagles with a try. Photo: Getty Images

The Eagles, who prior to Sunday morning's match (NZ time) had faced the All Blacks three times in test rugby, were vastly outplayed but did make history as they recorded the team's first ever try against the most successful team in international rugby.

American Nate Augspurger slipped by Sam Whitelock into the backfield, put on a brilliant step past Damian McKenzie while a diving Richie Mo'unga also couldn't catch him as he scored under the posts to pull the hosts to within 59-7 at the break.

The hosts added a second try when left winger Ryan Matyas dove in the corner in the tackle of Will Jordan. It appeared Matyas was tackled out but the on-field decision of a try was backed by a review that checked if his foot was in touch.

The All Blacks, however, were full of energy and had their attack firing yet were ultimately unable to eclipse their record test victory set at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa when they beat Japan 145-17.

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

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

Lock Tupou Vaa'i featured prominently, too, as did Will Jordan's gliding presence that popped up all over the field.

Southland prop Ethan de Groot, on his first test start, celebrated with an early try.

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.

Richie Mo'unga celebrates his try against the USA Eagles during the match in Landover, Maryland...
Richie Mo'unga celebrates his try against the USA Eagles during the match in Landover, Maryland this morning (NZ time). Photo: Getty Images
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.

TJ Perenara's final try cracked the century with the last play to give the All Blacks their third highest tally of all time.

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.

- Reuters and NZ Herald 



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