WALES suffered their third defeat of the autumn when overpowered 33-10 by New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.
The All Blacks led 33-0 approaching the final quarter before the hosts rallied to score consolation tries through replacement centre Scott Williams and wing Alex Cuthbert.
The scoreline wasn’t the only thing that was brutal for Wales – three of Warren Gatland’s starters were helped from the field in the first quarter alone.
New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore clobbered Bradley Davies off the ball from behind in the first minute – an act of thuggery that was missed by the officials – and just seconds later tighthead prop Aaron Jarvis suffered a knee injury.
Those blows were compounded after 18 minutes when influential centre Jamie Roberts went off with an ice pack strapped to his ribs.
Injuries plus 23 unanswered points made it an extremely painful first half for the hosts, who were left to regret their decision to turn down three kickable penalties to go to the corner.
The All Blacks took command through three penalties by fly-half Aaron Cruden and the result was no longer in question after 26 minutes when a flowing New Zealand move was worked wide to the right for flanker Liam Messam to cross.
Cruden converted and again added the extras with the final kick of the half after a slick lineout move allowed loosehead prop Owen Franks to barge over.
The fly-half, only in the side because of Dan Carter’s withdrawal yesterday because of a leg problem, extended the lead with a penalty after 42 minutes.
And another seven-pointer followed when lock Luke Romano barged through Alex Cuthbert’s tackle in the left corner.
At 33-0 there was the fear that things were going to get really messy but to Wales’ credit they rallied.
And after knocking on the door they finally crossed for their first try on 57 minutes when a novel 15-man lineout saw centre Williams driven over.
A second followed on 77 minutes when finished smartly in the corner as Wales ensured the second half spoils were shared 10 points apiece, scant consolation heading into next week’s final Test against Australia.
Wales scorers: tries - S Williams, A Cuthbert
New Zealand scorers: tries - L Messam, T Woodcock, L Romano; conversions - A Cruden (3); penalties - A Cruden (4)