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Sonny Bill Williams gashing the USA. Abel Barrientes photo

New Zealand beat the United States 74-6 Saturday in front of a sold out crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Eagles were competitive for the first 20 minutes, stringing together some probing continuity and avoiding danger areas like the scrum and a kicking battle. However, once the flood gates opened, the All Blacks ran away with the contest.

The United States started on its back foot and repelled the All Blacks for the opening three minutes. Hayden Smith delivered a big hit in the defensive stand, and when a ball squirted free, Scott Lavalla booted it to touch.

The All Blacks were given a lot of latitude on the maul off the lineout, with it taking several seconds to move forward. Shortly after they were made to use the ball, the All Blacks were awarded a penalty. Another penalty and a few phases later, Blaine Scully rode Nathan Harris over the try line as New Zealand went up 5-0.

Danny Barrett was injured during the melee, and came off for Tai Tuisamoa.

The Eagles caught a break after the kickoff when a New Zealand penalty allowed them to take a territorial advantage. After several phases from touch line to tough line, Adam Siddall put the USA on the board with a penalty in the 12th minute.

Several more phases and 30 meters of territory were strung together by the USA off the next kickoff, but Brett Thompson was eventually called for holding on in a tackle. On that possession, Israel Dagg made a break and offloaded to Corey Jane for New Zealand’s second try. The pass that put away the score was borderline forward. This time Aaron Cruden converted, putting the All Blacks up 12-3 after 16 minutes.

Blaine Scully made an amazing play on the next restart, poaching the ball straight out of the air and penetrating the All Black 22. New Zealand was pinged for not releasing Scully, and Siddall kicked three more points over posts to bring it to 12-6.

The Eagles hadn’t yet surrendered a territorial kick until an aimless up-and-under, with no chase, by Siddall in the 20th minute resulted in a counter attack try dotted down by lock Patrick Tuipulotu, which would unlock the game for New Zealand. Seconds and two phases later, Sonny Bill Williams extended the lead after he caught an offload from midfield mate Ryan Crotty. Cruden converted both, and the Kiwis led 26-6 23 minutes in.

After a brief period of continuity in the attacking end by the USA, sparked by a sneaky break from Siddall, Charles Piutau crossed over to push the lead to 31-6. The gap widened shortly after with another Williams try. Again in the 35th minute, Julian Savea scored weakside off a point-blank scrum, and the All Blacks carried a 43-6 lead into the break.  

The USA didn’t score in the second half, and really didn’t get close. There was a chance to go for posts at one point, but the decision was made to opt for a lineout and a try. The All Blacks, on the other hand, ran in five more tries in the final 40 minutes.

Prop Joe Moody scored off a lineout play in the 45th minute. Cruden crossed a few phases after a lost American lineout in the 49th minute. Dagg scored off a pass from reserve flyhalf Dan Carter in the 58th minute. Sam Cane rumbled through a few tackles to dot down in the 66th minute. And in the 80th, Savea scored after switching with with Victor Vito.

Match Details

11.01.14 Chicago, IL
Final Score
All Blacks