- By Peter Marriott
The All Blacks met the USA in Washington this past weekend – some facts and figures from
New Zealand v United States: Won 104-14
New Zealand and the United States first met at test level at California Field in Berkeley, California, on 15 November 1913.The home side was then known as All America and the All Blacks won that first encounter 51-3, scoring 13 tries in the process. This was the All Blacks 21st-ever test and they did not reach 50 points in another test match until beating Italy 70-6 at Auckland in the first match of the 1987 Rugby World Cup some 74 years and 205 tests later. Similarly the All Blacks 13 tries were not surpassed until they scored 21 against Japan at Bloemfontein during the 1995 World Cup.
The All Blacks and the United States side (now known as the Eagles) next met at Gloucester in England at the 1991 World Cup: the All Blacks won 46-6 and again in 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago where the score was 74-6. After three official test matches the All Blacks had rattled up 171 points to the Eagles 15 and had outscored the opposition by 33 tries to none. The Eagles 15 points were thanks to five penalties.
In this latest encounter the All Blacks put 100 points on the Eagles for the first time but the hosts created a piece of history too, by scoring their first-ever try against New Zealand. It had taken a long time: 107 years and 342 days to be exact.
This test between the two countries was the inaugural 1874 Cup which was named after the year the first rugby match was played in the United States.
The venue for the match, Landover MD, Maryland, was the 56th different one to host an All Black test and third in the United States. As mentioned above, the first test was held at Berkeley in California followed by two in Chicago, one of which was against Ireland in 2016 when New Zealand lost a test to that country for the first time ever.
The All Blacks have now scored 100 or more points in a test on seven occasions. The 104 points against the United States is their third highest score after beating Japan 145-17 in the 1995 World Cup and Portugal 108-13 at Lyon during the 2007 World Cup.
Other scores of 100 points or more have been against Italy (101-3 in Huddersfield at the World Cup of 1999), Tonga (102-0 at Albany in 2000), Samoa (101-14 at New Plymouth in 2008) and Tonga again, at Auckland in the All Blacks first match of 2021. For the first time they have twice recorded 100 points in a test during the same season.
In this year’s match at FedExField the All Blacks led the United States 59-7 at halftime, a total only beaten by their score of 84-3, after 40 minutes against Japan in 1995.
The All Blacks winning margin of 90 points is their seventh highest in all tests, well behind the record 128 points in their 145-17 victory over Japan.
The 16 tries scored by the All Blacks against the Eagles have only been beaten once: by the 21 against Japan in 1995. They have scored 16 tries in a match on two other occasions: against Portugal at Lyon in 2007 and against Tonga at Auckland earlier this season.
The All Blacks have scored 10 or more tries in a match on 38 occasions and, unsurprisingly, have never lost a test when scoring that many. In fact, of the 182 times they have scored five tries or more in a match, they have lost just once: 34-36 against South Africa at Wellington in 2018 when they scored six tries to the visitors five.
Twelve different players scored at least one try against the United States and that included Ethan de Groot and Quinn Tupaea who both dotted down for their first at test level. Dalton Papali’i scored his fourth, Richie Mo’unga his eighth, Anton Lienert-Brown his 11th, Damian McKenzie and TJ Perenara both their 15th, Dane Coles his 18th and Beauden Barrett his 37th.
Luke Jacobson scored two tries and now has a total of five in 11 test appearances. He also scored two earlier in the season against Argentina at Robina during the Rugby Championship. Angus Ta’avao also scored two tries against the Eagles to take his tally to three in 20 tests.
Jacobson now has the distinction of perhaps scoring the “quickest” try in All Black test history. His try, the first of the match, was recorded at 29 seconds after the referee blew his whistle to start proceedings. Several tries in the past have been recorded as having been scored after a minute but it appears Jacobson’s is the earliest to be scored. Not far behind Jacobson was Sitiveni Sivivatu who scored a try after 36 seconds against Romania at Toulouse in 2007, Doug Howlett dotted down after 45 seconds against Ireland at Hamilton in 2006 and Ian Kirkpatrick has been credited with having scored a try against the British & Irish Lions at Dunedin in 1977, after 54 seconds.
Will Jordan was a multi-try scorer again, this time with three. It was the third time he has scored two or more tries in a match and he now has a total of 15 in just 10 test appearances. His sequence of try scoring goes: none (in first match), two, five, one, one, one, one, none, one and three. Jordan’s three tries also equalled the All Blacks record for most tries by a player in a match against the United States: Dick Roberts scored three in the 1913 match and Terry Wright also scored three in the match played in 1991.
A comparison of Jordan’s efforts with those of some other “serial” try scorers is interesting. Christian Cullen and Doug Howlett both scored nine tries in their first 10 matches and Sitiveni Sivivatu scored 13. However, they were all usurped by Joe Rokocoko who had 16 tries to his name after 10 appearances.
The 16 tries against the United States took the tally after 11 tests in 2021 to 82, a new record for most tries scored in a year. The previous record was 81, in 2003 (from 14 tests) and in 2007 and 2016 a total of 80 tries were scored from a total of 12 and 14 tests respectively.
Sam Cane, who appeared in his first test of the year, and TJ Perenara, were the only two players in this match against the Eagles who also appeared against the side in 2014. That was the year Perenara made his All Black debut and after appearing in his first seven matches as a substitute, he made his first-ever start against the United States. It also happened to be Cane’s first start of the year after six matches off the bench but hehad made his test debut two years earlier.
Three players made their first start in a test for the All Blacks: Finlay Christie (his fourth test), Ethan de Groot (after two matches off the bench) and Braydon Ennor (also after two matches off the bench).
Josh Lord made his test debut replacing Captain Sam Whitelock after 58 minutes. Lord is All Black No. 1199 and is the seventh to play his first test for the All Blacks in 2021. He also took the number of players who have made at least one appearance this year to 42.
Sam Whitelock was restored to the Captaincy after missing the All Blacks five previous matches. He has now led the side 11 times and has yet to lose a match.
Beauden Barrett, who came off the bench, played in his 99th test match for the All Blacks. He is now just one appearance short of becoming the 11th All Black to play 100 test matches. His try in the match took his tally of points in all tests to 693 and he lies third on the All Blacks all-time list of point scorers after Dan Carter (1598 points) and Andrew Mehrtens (967 points).
Damian McKenzie started the match with 93 points but a try and three conversions took his tally past 100. He now has 104 points in 38 test appearances.
Richie Mo’unga started the match 10 points short of 250 which he brought up with 23 points from his try and nine conversions. His total now is 263 points from 28 matches at an average of 9.4 points per match. He also holds the All Black record for the most points scored by an individual in a test against the United States.
Halfback, Nate Augspurger, was the player who scored the first-ever try for the Eagles in a test against New Zealand. It was his eighth try overall in 31 test match appearances.
Ryan Matyas scored the Eagles second try against the All Blacks: his seventh in 14 test appearances. Neither side made any effort to kick a penalty during the match.