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Dyer scores on debut but New Zealand extend winning run over Wales

NEW ZEALAND extended their winning run over Wales to 33 games on Saturday (Nov 5) as they beat Wales 23-55 at the Principality Stadium.

The New Zealanders raced into an early 17-point lead through a fast start and ended up scoring eight tries.

Dyer was the only new cap on the field at the start, but Wales head coach Wayne Pivac was forced into a late change before kick-off when Leigh Halfpenny failed a fitness test. That meant a switch from outside half to full back for Gareth Anscombe and promotion from the bench to fill the No 10 shirt for Rhys Priestland.

That brought the uncapped Sam Costelow onto the bench for the first time and the talented 21-year-old Scarlets outside half went on to win his first cap as a second half replacement.

Richie Mo’unga kicked the visitors into a fourth minute lead and then converted back-to-back tries from New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor. They both showcased the power of the All Black’s forwards as they brought some huge carries into the game with No 8 Ardie Savea always to the fore.

That made it 17-0 after only 19 minutes and Wales were under the cosh in their opening game in the four match Autumn Nations Series. But new skipper Justin Tipuric rallied his troops and stirred a magnificent reaction.

A New Zealand penalty allowed Wales to kick into the left corner and after a long committee meeting between the forwards they turned up to secure the ball. With the All Blacks expecting a forward drive, Wales fooled them by delivering off the top.

The ball was moved quickly into midfield where the outstanding Nick Tompkins drew his man and then popped the ball up into space for Dyer to come off the blindside wing and race almost 20 metres through the gap created by the speed of possession and the deft of hand by the Welsh backs.

Anscombe added the extras and now it really was ‘game on’. The next score was going to be vital and it went the way off the All Blacks as Mo’unga cross-kicked expertly to the right wing when Jordie Barrett rose above Dyer to catch and control the ball before landing over the try line.

Mo’unga added the conversion to extend the lead, but Anscombe brought the first-half to an end with a simple penalty that made it 22-13 to the visitors at the break.

Pivac rung the changes up front at half-time as he introduced Alun Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis for Adam Beard and Tomas Francis. Wales needed more points quickly and another Anscombe penalty shortly after the re-start cut the gap to six points.

The next score was going to be vital and it went to New Zealand. Scrum half Aaron Smith, celebrating becoming the most capped All Blacks back of all-time with his 113th appearance, skipped away from a scrum, swerved past the last defender and scored a brilliant solo try that Mo’unga converted.

Wales came up with an immediate reaction to prove they were still in the contest. A neat chip over the top in the New Zealand 22 by Tomos Williams allowed Priestland to jump to challenge Mo’unga for the ball in front of his posts.

The Kiwi No 10 couldn’t take the ball under pressure and Tipuric was there to scoop up the loose ball and just about hold onto it to dive in at the posts. Anscombe’s conversion made it 29-23 to make it a one-score game once again.

That was as close as Wales could get and there were four more tries from the ruthless Kiwis as they made it eight tries in the end, with two each from Simth and Jordie Barrett, as well as one from man of the match Savea.