- By Peter Marriott
New Zealand v Fiji: Won 60-13
The All Blacks have played a total of 15 tests in Hamilton and all at the same ground. Their first test was against Argentina in June 1997 when they beat the visitors 62-10. The All Blacks have gone on to win 14 times and lost just the once: against South Africa (29-32) in September 2009.
The matches have generally been high scoring affairs in Hamilton which is borne out by the fact the All Blacks average 52.9 points per game whilst conceding an average of 12.2 points a game to the opposition.
The All Blacks have now scored 60 points in a test match four times, twice against Fiji. In 2011 the All Blacks beat Fiji 60-14 at Dunedin. Hamilton and Dunedin were also the host venues for the other two occasions 60 points were racked up in a test by the All Blacks.
This test was the 600th to be played by New Zealand. Their first-ever was against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (in Sydney on 15 August 1903). The All Blacks won 22-3. It has taken them 117 years and 336 days to bring up the 600th.
The All Blacks 300th match was against South Africa at Christchurch on 20 July 1996 which happened to be the fifth match of that year and which has also been recognised as the first full year of professional rugby. So the first 300 matches (give or take) can be regarded as having been played in the amateur era. Of those first 300 matches, the All Blacks won 215 (71.7% success), lost 70 and drew 15. The second tranche of 300 matches produced 248 wins (82.7% success), 45 losses and seven draws.
Overall the All Blacks have won 463 test matches (77.2% success), lost 115 and drawn 22. They have aggregated 16794 points (an average of 28 points per match) and conceded 7980 points (an average of 13.3 points per match). They have scored a total of 2206 tries (an average of 3.7 tries per match) and conceded 805 tries at an average of 1.3 tries per match.
The All Blacks have twice won a match 28-13: against Australia at Sydney in 2010, and against Argentina at Hamilton in 2013.
Of their 600 test matches played, the All Blacks have been ahead at halftime exactly 400 times. They have won 366 of those tests, lost 26 and drawn eight. Since losing to Australia at Brisbane on 21 October 2017, (when leading 13-12 at the break), the All Blacks have now gone 26 tests (24 wins and two draws) without loss after being ahead at halftime.
Crowd figures released after every All Black match (hopefully they are “honest” or as near to being as accurate as possible) reveals a total of 26,144,309 people have passed through the turnstiles in those 600 tests. That works out at an average crowd of 43,574 people per match.
Between them the Forwards and the Backs have scored 1106 tries at home venues. The try scored by Ardie Savea was the 350th by a Forward at home and the second of his three tries scored by Sevu Reece was the 750th by a back in home tests.
New Zealand’s starting XV against Fiji boasted 526 caps between them compared to Fiji’s 290. Of the eight players who came off the Fijian bench three, namely Kitione Kamikamica, Moses Sorovi and Teti Tela made their test debut. A total of 754 players have now represented Fiji at test level.
For the second match in a row Fiji scored first through the boot of Ben Volavola. From both matches he totalled 14 points and is now the new Fiji record holder for most test points scored by an individual against New Zealand.
After having played seven tests against each other New Zealand has aggregated 481 points made up of 75 tries, 50 conversions and six penalties. Fiji has aggregated 86 points comprising 10 tries, four conversions and nine penalties.
Sevu Reece scored a “hat-trick” of tries for the first time at test level. He now has seven (he also scored twice in the test against Namibia at Tokyo during the 2019 Rugby World Cup), from 10 appearances. Reece has started in all of his test matches. In the first nine he wore the No 14 jersey: this time it was the No 11 jersey.
When Richie Mo’unga kicked his first conversion, he brought up 200 points in tests. He successfully landed five conversions and one penalty for a personal haul of 13 points and his tally in 24 tests is now 212 points.
That penalty was the first, and so far only, attempt by the All Blacks to kick one in the three test matches played in 2021.
Will Jordan continued his try scoring spree having now scored in the last four test matches. He has a total of nine tries to his name, in five matches.
Rieko Ioane’s try was his 28th in 37 test appearances.
Shannon Frizell scored his third try.
Anton Lienert-Brown played his first match of the season and his 50th overall. Lienert-Brown made his test debut against Australia at Wellington on 27 August 2016.
Ardie Savea also played his first test of 2021 and it was also his 50th overall. Savea had made his debut four tests prior to Lienert-Brown: against Wales at Auckland on 11 June 2016. Interestingly, half (25) of Savea’s appearances have been off the bench.
Savea’s try was his 12th.
Incidentally, In the match following Ardie Savea’s debut, Israel Dagg and Ben Smith had both celebrated reaching their 50th test milestone: against Wales at Wellington on 18 June 2016.
Samisoni Taukei’aho made his test debut after coming off the bench to replace starting Hooker Codie Taylor.
Taukei’aho is the sixth player to debut for the All Blacks this year and he took the number of players who have made an appearance in 2021 to 35. He becomes All Black #1198 and is the 882nd to play in a test match.
Taukei’aho is the 65th player born overseas to play a test for New Zealand and the 12th to have been born in Tonga. (Shannon Frizell, who started in this test was also born in Tonga). He is the 17th player to make his debut at FMG Stadium Waikato but is the first to do so whilst representing Waikato at provincial level. Four players before him have scored a try on debut in Hamilton but Taukei’aho is the first to score two.
Of the 144 players who have scored at least one try on test debut, only 20 of them have actually scored two.
One has scored four (Sitiveni Sivivatu), six have scored three and 117 have scored just the once. And of the 154 players who have made their test debut off the bench, only 17 of them have scored a try with just four of them scoring two. Those four players are Doug Howlett (against Tonga at Albany in 2000), Sam Whitelock (Ireland at New Plymouth in 2010), George Bridge (Japan at Tokyo in 2018) and now Samisoni Taukei’aho. Howlett scored the first of his two tries within a minute of going onto the field and his second 36 minutes later. Sam Whitelock also scored his first after a minute and second 26 minutes later. George Bridge had to wait six minutes before scoring his first try but his second came “just” 20 minutes afterwards Taukei’aho scored his first try after four minutes and the second 22 minutes later.
Samisoni Taukei’aho replaced Codie Taylor who, by an incredible coincidence, also scored a try on debut having replaced the starting Hooker Keven Mealamu in the match against Argentina at Christchurch on 17 July 2015, exactly six years to the day before this match.
The last occasion a starting Hooker scored two tries in a test was against Australia at Christchurch on 8 July 2006. And that player was: Keven Mealamu.
Leone Nakarawa captained Fiji for just the second time. The first occasion was against Canada at Suva in August 2019. In this match against the All Blacks he picked up the only yellow card which was issued.
Peni Ravai scored his third try in 36 test matches. One of his earlier tries had been scored in the same match Nakarawa first captained.