Aaron Smith says All Blacks had point to prove after poor performance in Tokyo

Aaron Smith says All Blacks had point to prove after poor performance in Tokyo

Updated: 22 days, 18 hours, 19 minutes, 29 seconds ago

The All Blacks produced some scintillating tries against Wales

Aaron Smith revealed the All Blacks used the much-maligned performance against Japan as a tool to bludgeon Wales during the impressive 55-23 win in Cardiff on Sunday morning.

Despite beating Japan 38-31 in Tokyo the previous weekend, the All Blacks, who were heavily criticised in the wake of that unconvincing effort, were motivated to unleash their frustrations on the Welsh at the Principality Stadium.

Aaron Smith became the most capped All Blacks back when he played his 113th test. He celebrated by scoring two tries during the 55-23 win over Wales in Cardiff.

David Rogers/Getty Images

Aaron Smith became the most capped All Blacks back when he played his 113th test. He celebrated by scoring two tries during the 55-23 win over Wales in Cardiff.

A revamped All Blacks side, led by Sam Whitelock because Sam Cane had to return to New Zealand with a fractured cheekbone, ran in eight tries against Wales after leading 22-13 at halftime.

Halfback Smith, who surpassed Dan Carter to become the most capped All Blacks back of all time in his 113th test, scored two tries to celebrate his milestone before he was replaced by Brad Weber in the 66th minute.

Smith told Sky Sport he was "a bit shocked'' to play more tests than Carter - the pair played together when Smith debuted for the All Blacks in 2012 - before outlining what motivated the team ahead of what's expected to be his last northern tour with the national side.

"I really wanted to come on the end of year tour and chase a good performance,'' Smith told Sky Sport.

"I still had some blunders tonight that I wish I had back. But you have to take the positives. It is a really amazing place to play Wales, a special place for me.

"Our boys - after last week's performance (against Japan) there was a lot of edge in the house. So you could see it tonight, we really wanted it.

"Our discipline at times let them in the game, so we need to tidy that up. But it was a positive step.''

Jordie Barrett attempts to break through the Welsh defensive line in Cardiff.

David Rogers/Getty Images

Jordie Barrett attempts to break through the Welsh defensive line in Cardiff.

The All Blacks and Wales conceded 11 and 10 penalties respectively as referee Wayne Barnes often discovered transgressions in the breakdowns, and that ill-discipline contributed in a see-saw performance until the visitors' powered away with tries to man-of-the-match Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett and Samisoni Taukei'aho in the final quarter.

Unlike the test in Tokyo, where they relied on a late penalty from Richie Mo'unga to provide a vital buffer, the All Blacks were extremely dominant down the home straight.

The impact of replacement players such as Akira Ioane, Brad Weber and Taukei'aho meant Wales were shut out of the contest as visitors appeared hellbent on reaching a half-century of points.

Despite a few rough passes, Smith capped off a memorable night with his brace of tries; the first was a cracker when he set off from about 25m out and weaved between defenders like a pinball.

Aaron Smith breaks clear to score his first try against Wales.

David Rogers/Getty Images

Aaron Smith breaks clear to score his first try against Wales.

The second was a result of Savea selling a dummy for the ages, to enable Smith to dart in for the offload off his left shoulder.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster made wholesale changes for this match, notably starting Jordie Barrett at second five-eighth ahead of David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown, with the latter pair being used as impact players off the bench.

Barrett scored a fine try, when he used his height to secure a cross-kick from Mo'unga in the first half.

"We knew it was a big one for us, and Wales were pretty fired up,'' Foster told Sky Sport. "And I just loved the way we rolled our sleeves up and played a really efficient, sort of ruthless game.''

Despite the stadium roof being shut, the grass was wet and that contributed to handling errors from both teams.

Foster joked it was as if the ground had been hosed with water, it was that slippery.

"We played, I guess the word for me was efficient,'' he stated.

"It was a powerful game around the edges and created opportunities through that. And the pass, maybe we got a little bit impatient and tried to overplay things but I thought we stuck at it today.''