All Blacks overpower US Eagles 104-14 in opener

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Will Jordan of the All Blacks breaks with the ball during the 1874 rugby cup against the USA Eagles on Saturday. AFP

The New Zealand All Blacks, sparked by three tries from Will Jordan, overwhelmed the United States 104-14 on Saturday to launch a five-match northern hemisphere tour.

Luke Jacobson and Angus Ta’avao each added two tries for the All Blacks, who delivered a dazzling masterclass of passing and flair by to humble the outmatched Eagles.

“That’s a nice launching pad for what’s going to be a big month for us,” All Blacks coach Ian Foster said.

The match at FedEx Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, set the stage for the All Blacks’ visit to Wales next Saturday followed by November stops at Italy, Ireland and France.

“It’s a tour like no other,” Foster said. “This test was vital for us. It was a good head out for us. To do it in a special stadium and special atmosphere was nice.”

The Eagles managed their first-ever tries against New Zealand despite dropping their most lopsided of four blowout defeats in the all-time rivalry.

“I’m devastated by the result,” Eagles coach Gary Gold said. “It’s brilliant we were able to get a couple of tries against them but that’s going to be lost by it being a horrendous scoreline.

“When you play the best attacking team in the world, that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t think our guys gave up. That’s all I can ask.”

The All Blacks were coming off a loss to South Africa three weeks ago that denied them an unbeaten run in the Rugby Championship while the Eagles suffered a World Cup qualifying loss to Uruguay two weeks ago.

“There were some areas of our game we were able to improve on from the South Africa match,” All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie said. “We were very pleased.”

Players who saw little action in the Rugby Championship a chance to show their skills ahead of European matches.

Sam Whitelock, who missed later Rugby Championship matches in Australia, took over captain’s duties for the All Blacks with long-term captain Sam Cane returning in the second half after recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.

Moments after fans cheered the All Blacks performing the Haka, they watched New Zealand flanker Jacobson score the first try only 29 seconds into the match.

‘Shell-shocked’ Eagles

Prop Ethan de Groot, making his first All Blacks start, followed with a try in the sixth minute.

Jordan scored his first try in the 10th minute, kicking down the right wing over Will Hooley and racing around him to recover the ball before making the final four strides to the try line.

McKenzie took Quinn Tupaea’s offload on a breakaway for a try in the 13th minute and Richie Mo’unga’s third conversion made it 26-0.

“I think they were a little shell-shocked by us in the first few minutes,” Foster said.

Jacobson’s second try came off a quick pass from Jordan in the 20th minute and Mo’unga scored on a superb run in the 25th minute then converted for a 40-0 New Zealand lead.

Jordan’s second try came down the right wing in the 29th minute, Ta’avao added another in the 33rd and Tupaea scored the ninth Kiwi try in the 37th.

But the Americans celebrated at the end of the first half as Nate Augspurger broke free, evaded McKenzie and raced over the line for the first US try against the All Blacks, kneeling and raising his arms skyward as the Eagles pulled within 59-7.

Ta’avao scored his second try seconds into the second half and Dalton Papalii added another in the 48th minute.

Eagles winger Ryan Matyas scored another US try in the 53rd minute, but the All Blacks added Jordan’s third try in the 69th minute and tries by reserves Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles and TJ Perenara at the finish.