New Zealand 39-21 Wales
|New Zealand (15) 39|
|Tries: J Savea, Naholo (2), Read, Harris Pens: Cruden (4) Cons: Cruden (2)|
|Wales (18) 21|
|Tries: Faletau, Webb Pens: Biggar (3) Con: Biggar|
New Zealand pulled away to a 27th consecutive win over battling Wales in a compelling Test match at Eden Park.
Wales led after an hour, but the world champions scored 21 unanswered points in the final quarter to overpower them.
All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo scored twice with Julian Savea, Kieran Read and Nathan Harris also crossing.
Taulupe Faletau and Rhys Webb scored for Wales, but they could not mark Alun Wyn Jones' 100th appearance with a first win in New Zealand.
It was a familiar story for Wales who could not maintain the intensity of their opening half against an All Black side playing for the first time since the World Cup final and without legends Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu.
Harris' try with the clock in the red at the end of the game distorted the scoreline, although after the break the All Blacks were completely dominant.
And it could have been worse.
Referee Wayne Barnes controversially disallowed a touchdown by TJ Perenara to the consternation of the home crowd, but redressed the balance by ruling out Faletau's late try.
Wales' last win against the All Blacks was in 1953, and under coach Warren Gatland they have won only twice in 31 games against the big three southern hemisphere countries.
Wales led at half-time after a thrilling see-saw opening 40 minutes when the lead changed hands three times.
A blistering start by the All Blacks yielded only an Aaron Cruden penalty before the visitors delivered a superb team move which culminated in Faletau diving over in the left corner.
It spurred New Zealand into action as Savea touched down from a Cruden cross-kick and then Naholo rounded off a brilliant attack initiated by full-back Ben Smith.
Far from yielding, Wales hit back when the counter-attacking Liam Williams found Rhys Webb on his shoulder and the scrum-half claimed his seventh international try.
But in a key passage of play just before the interval, New Zealand held out after a period of intense pressure on their own try-line.
The All Blacks' ability to step-up a gear meant Wales were always hanging on after the interval.
Dan Biggar's penalty wiped out Cruden's earlier effort.
But with the home line-out getting on top and the introduction of brilliant runners Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea and Parenara from the bench it was only a matter of time before the All Blacks' pressure paid-off.
Wales have no time to regroup. They face Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday before a second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on 18 June.
What they said
Wales captain Sam Warburton: "The message was we couldn't come here and play safe and I thought some of our counter-attacking was excellent.
"We're really disappointed to concede seven at the end and make the scoreboard look a little bit ugly."
New Zealand captain Kieran Read: "It was what we expected. Wales were fired up and it was a reminder you've got to work hard.
"The boys had a really good attitude in the second half."
New Zealand: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane.
Replacements: Nathan Harris (for Coles), Wyatt Crockett (for Moody), Charlie Faumuina (for Franks), Patrick Tuipulotu (for Romano), Ardie Savea (for Cane), TJ Perenara (for A Smith), Beauden Barrett (for J Savea), Seta Tamanivalu (for Fekitoa).
Wales: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Ross Moriarty, Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Scott Baldwin (for Owens), Rob Evans (for Jenkins), Tomas Francis (for Lee), Jake Ball (For Davies), Ellis Jenkins (for Warburton), Gareth Davies (for Webb), Gareth Anscombe (for L Williams), Scott Williams (for Roberts).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England).
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Will Houston (Australia).