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Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 17:25 GMT
New Zealand crush battling Wales
Wales 18-58 New Zealand
New Zealand overwhelmed a battling Wales with an eleven try romp under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Both sides had already qualified for the quarter-finals before the game and Wales were rocked by the withdrawal of inspirational hooker Keiron Cunningham with a hamstring problem before kick off.
Henry Paul was the star of the New Zealand show with a fantastic try and a number of great plays, which killed the game off before half time.
The sheer size and power of the New Zealanders, most of whom play their rugby in Australia, was too much for Wales to cope with.
Notice was served to Wales after just nine minutes when giant winger Leslie "volcano" Vainikolo burst on to a flat pass from Stacey Jones to score the game's opening try.
The enormous Tongan-born wing completed a hat-trick in the second half, his second try amply demonstrating his pace and power as his legs were simply too big for Wales' Wes Davies to hang on to.
Vainikolo breezed past him after running the length of the field off a pass from skipper Barnett.
His last came with just seconds to go as a tired Wales ran out of defenders behind their own 20 metre line.
The Paul inspired New Zealand dominated the first half and the first part of the second and added to Vainikolo's first try after 20 minutes.
Talau benefited from a quick play-the-ball after a great break up field by prop Smith.
But it was Paul who had sent the forward on his way with a deft pass from the tackle near the New Zealand try line.
Paul then scored a try of his own, breaking three weak tackles and handing-off Justin Morgan disdainfully to cross under the posts as New Zealand threatened to run riot.
Wales did snatch a brilliant try through Lee Briers on the half hour after a great break from Hefin O'Hare, but the Kiwis made the game safe before the break with further tries from Barnett and Ruben Wiki.
They went in 30-6 up at the interval.
Wales looked in danger of conceding a record number of points as New Zealand threatened to break loose in the second half.
Vainikolo's second try was followed by a further touchdown from Toni Carroll, who hit back from a Wales drop out after Paul Sterling was caught behind his own line.
And breakaway efforts from Lautiti, another from skipper Barnett after a Lavea up-and-under was left to bounce, a powerful run by Nigel Vagana and Vainikolo's hat-trick score completed the rout.
Wales did warn the Kiwis they can not afford to lose concentration at later stages in the competition with two tries halfway through the second half.
Paul Atcheson crashed over after a clever step inside from Iestyn Harris and Andy Farrell pounced on a loose ball to get a try courtesy of the video referee.
Scorers - Wales: Tries: Briers, Atcheson, Farrell. Goals: Harris 3.
New Zealand: Tries: Vainikolo 3, Talau, H. Paul, Barnett 2, Wiki, Carroll, Lauiti'iti, J. Vagana. Goals: H. Paul 5, Lavea 2.
Wales: Davies, Sterling, O'Hare, Critchley, Sullivan, Harris,
Briers, Farrell, Watson, Whittle, Jenkins, Morgan, Morley.
New Zealand: Barnett, N. Vagana, Carroll, Talau, Vainikolo, H. Paul, Jones, Smith, Swain, Cayless, Rua, Kearney, Wiki. Replacements: Lavea, J. Vagana, Puletua, Lauiti'iti.
Referee: Russell Smith (England)
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