The clinical All Blacks had the match won by half time after tries from Liam Messam and Tony Woodcock as well as two conversions and three penalties from Aaron Cruden.
Another try immediately after the re-start from New Zealand, this time through Luke Romano, as well as a fourth Cruden penalty and it looked as though Wales could be subjected to a rout.
But credit should go to the home side as they fought back scoring two uncoverted tries in the final 25 minutes to create a match that was closer than the scoreline suggested.
Wales started the match positively despite losing two forwards to injury with just two minutes on the clock.
Aaron Jarvis was unlucky to get caught in the ruck, his right knee sustaining an injury when his leg was bent the wrong way. But Bradley Davies can rightly feel aggrieved as he was taken out off the ball by Andrew Hore, who will surely receive a lengthy ban when the citing officer reviews the incident.
Wales also lost Jamie Roberts after 20 minutes, the Scarlets’ man departing after a knock to his right hip, to leave the hosts reeling.
New Zealand did what they always do in the early stages, gradually building a lead through three penalties from the boot of Cruden, an able deputy to the injured Dan Carter.
But it was a blistering 30 minute stretch either side of half-time that really saw the visitors seal the match, as they crossed over three times and Cruden maintained his 100 per cent kicking record.
The first try came about after a momentum of brilliance from Julian Savea, the huge winger only on his eighth cap, fashioned a break from within his own half before the All Blacks recycled the ball across field to Messam for the easy run in.
Just 10 minutes later and the All Blacks added their second, with the last move of the half, creating the most simple of tries as Woodcock stroked over the line after a catch and drive from an attacking line-out.
Cruden added a penalty just three minutes into the second half before Romano put the match to bed by crossing the line to finish a move created by Savea on the left wing.
From there, however, New Zealand took their foot off the gas as Wales looked to salvage some pride from a match that looked set to become embarrassing.
Rhys Priestland’s kick had been far from reliable for Wales throughout the match but he finally found touch in the corner in the 58th minute.
The scenes that followed could easily become a feature in a “what happened next” segment as Wales formed a line-out with all 15 of their players before forcing their way over the line with the ball in the hands of Scott Williams.
Leigh Halfpenny failed to add the conversion but the hosts were helped in their comeback by a moment of madness from All Blacks winger Cory Jane, who was sent to the sin-bin in the 60th minute, for a cynical knock-on.
Despite failing to score during Jane’s 10 minutes in the bin, Wales clearly grew in confidence as they enjoyed prolonged spells of possession.
And they finished on a positive note, despite the loss, when Alex Cuthbert ran over in the right corner to end a move that involved almost every member of the Welsh team.
New Zealand need just one more win, against England at Twickenham next week, to end the year without a loss to their name (20 Tests without a loss) while Wales host Australia looking to finally pick up a win over a southern hemisphere in what has been a tough autumn series for them.
- Sports & Recreation
- All Blacks
- Aaron Cruden