New Zealand 78-0 Samoa: All Blacks thrash Samoa
Last Updated: 16/06/17 3:26pm
New Zealand sent an ominous warning to the British and Irish Lions as they ran riot against Samoa to score 12 tries in their 78-0 win at Eden Park on Friday.
Despite not dominating territory or possession, New Zealand still managed to score 12 tries against a Samoa side who had no answer for the All Blacks' precise offloading game.
It was by no means the perfect performance from the All Blacks but they still showed their clinical finishing prowess to shake off any rustiness ahead of the first Test against the British and Irish Lions next Saturday.
The All Blacks led 28-0 with four tries in the first half and added another eight in a sparkling second spell, including one to new cap Vaea Fifita who came off the bench to score with his first touch of the ball.
Following the pre-match confrontation with the rival war dances - the All Blacks with their haka and Samoa with their siva tau - it was the Samoans who were the most fired up when the whistle blew.
They dominated territory for the opening quarter with the likes of Tim Nanai-Williams, Alapati Leiua and Kieron Fonotia carving through the All Blacks backs, where Sonny Bill Williams was twice found wanting.
But despite the pressure, Samoa could not get that deciding finishing touch. With the All Blacks remaining calm, they struck when their chance came.
After defending desperately for the first 10 minutes, it took two well-placed Aaron Smith clearing kicks to ease the pressure and once inside the Samoan 22, a pop pass from Beauden Barrett saw Anton Lienert-Brown score the opening try.
In the closing 10 minutes of the half, the All Blacks scored three more tries.
The first came when Fonotia lost the ball on the All Blacks line which resulted in Ben and Aaron Smith running the hosts out of trouble, ending with a Barrett try 90 metres away.
Ardie Savea and Williams also crossed the line to have the All Blacks turn 28-0 up and the Samoans' spirited start beginning to flag.
Aaron Smith started the second half using turnover ball to spark a 60-metre move for Israel Dagg to score. Julian Savea, Codie Taylor, Beauden Barrett, Fifita, TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea also scored in the second half as the All Blacks ran riot.
Beauden Barrett landed seven conversions and Lima Sopoaga kicked two.
The Lions will be a sterner test for New Zealand - their defence will be better organised and they should put pressure on the All Balcks forwards, however the Lions will really need to close down Beauden Barrett who ran the show against Samoa.