Touring All Blacks in record rout of US

New Zealand captain Sam Whitelock is tackled by the United States' Nate Augspurger at FedEx Field.
New Zealand captain Sam Whitelock is tackled by the United States' Nate Augspurger at FedEx Field.

The All Blacks have dealt a blow to United States rugby at the moment of its greatest ambition, posting a record 16-try, 104-14 record win against an under-strength Eagles team.

After two matches in which their attack struggled against the stifling defence of South Africa, the All Blacks were able to thrive again, scoring their first try after just 28 seconds in front of more than 40,000 fans at the home of the NFL's Washington Football Team.

United States Rugby has just announced an ambitious goal to host the Rugby World Cup in 2027, although 2031 is more likely.

While Saturday's result isn't material to that bid, it won't help to encourage support for rugby in the country at a time when the sport needs it most.

A rare bright point for the Eagles was when halfback Nate Augspurger became the first man to score a try for the US against New Zealand.

The try came just before halftime when the Eagles already were trailing 59-0.

"When we got excited, when we were direct, direct, direct we were able to play some rugby even against the second-best team in the world, the best attacking team in the world," US captain Bryce Campbell said.

There was another bright point in the 53rd minute when winger Ryan Matyas, who played rugby in New Zealand for North Harbour province, scored the Eagles' second try, making the score 73-14 and bringing fans to their feet.

"We always want to speed it up a little bit, speed the tempo," All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock said.

"It showed. The US got in behind us a couple of times and scored two good tries because of it."

The All Blacks' line-up was experimental, made up mostly of players who missed or took little part in the Rugby Championship, but they found their rhythm quickly with the first half a tough reality check for a US team missing a host of their most-experienced players.

The tourists crossed for nine tries in the opening 40 minutes and while they lost some cohesion when they unloaded their bench in the second half they still racked up the points - with winger Will Jordan finishing with a hat-trick and doubles to flanker Luke Jacobson and prop Angus Ta'avao.

New Zealand's record win over the US - beating their 74-6 victory when the teams last met seven years ago - was not unexpected and the Eagles likely won't long dwell on the defeat.

The All Blacks will be disappointed, however, with their loss of shape in the second half as they head to Europe for matches against Wales, Ireland, Italy and France.

Australian Associated Press