New Zealand extended their 68-year dominance over Wales with a 54-16 rout in Cardiff on Saturday, with Beauden Barrett marking his 100th Test with two of the All Blacks’ seven tries.
There was also a 16th try in 11 Tests for right winger Will Jordan, who provided the moment of the match with a wonderful individual score that started in his own half to keep up the stunning start to his international career.
Tries in the final 16 minutes by Dalton Papali’i, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown and Barrett pushed the All Blacks well clear of a Welsh team that was heavily depleted even before captain and stalwart Alun Wyn Jones was forced off with a left-arm injury in his 149th cap for Wales - an appearance record for one country.
It was the first time New Zealand posted a half-century of points in an away match against Wales and it tied the team's biggest margin of victory in Cardiff, matching the 41-3 win in 2005.
Both of Barrett’s tries were off interceptions, the second coming in the last minute of the match as he raced down the right wing with a broad smile on his face.
“I’m somewhat relieved it’s over — it’s been quite a tense week," Barrett said of his milestone appearance.
“We had to work for it against a very good Welsh side, a very fit side. The big boys fronted up and made it easier for me."
Barrett believes he has the energy and drive to remain a key player for the All Blacks.
"Being a more senior player and having a lot more responsibilities in my life, there is a bigger picture. I'm more conscious of that and do things for different reasons now and my purpose is different.
"It's all part of growing up I think, but I'm still very driven and determined and I've got plenty left in the tank."
Barrett made his debut for New Zealand against Ireland in 2012 and since then has helped his nation to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and twice been named world player of the year.
"I've reminisced a fair bit this week, and it brings back some great memories," said Barrett.
"It was hard. I didn't train that well this week – there was a lot on my mind. I just wanted to play well and enjoy the moment because it was such a cool place to play my 100th."
His brother, Jordie Barrett, kicked 19 points for the All Blacks in the first match of the European leg of their end-of-year tour that's into its 11th week.
It’s now 32 straight losses against New Zealand for Wales since their last win in this fixture, as far back as 1953. Seventeen of those defeats have been in Cardiff and it was always going to be an uphill battle for Wales and their New Zealand-born coach Wayne Pivac without several key players.
Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau and Louis Rees-Zammit were unavailable because the game was being played outside the official World Rugby international window, while George North, Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric were injured and centre Willis Halaholo and fullback Liam Williams had illnesses.
The All Blacks’ class was evident throughout the game but the ruthlessness really showed in the final quarter when Wales tired and the visitors’ bench excelled.
“Credit to New Zealand, it shows why they’re one of the best teams in the world, their ruthlessness," Wales captain Jonathan Davies said.
“We were happy at 28-16 with 18 minutes left,” Pivac said, “but we fell off a cliff in those last 18 minutes.”