Beauden Barrett scored 24 points as the All Blacks thrashed Samoa 78-0 at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Samoa put up a good fight for most of the first half, but were blown away in the second as the All Blacks scored 50 points.
New Zealand were far from their best in the opening 30 minutes of this match, but their lethal counter-attacking ability saw them score two tries.
Samoa did not play like minnows in the first half. The visitors enjoyed a better share of the possession and territory, and it was only a lack of composure in the final third of the field that prevented them from getting on the scoreboard.
Centre Anton Lienert-Brown opened the scoring with a rather fortuitous effort, after replays confirmed the ball had been knocked on at the back of the scrum from which the try originated. But play went on and Barrett attacked the line before offloading to Lienert-Brown.
Samoa butchered two 15-plus phase attacks inside the All Blacks’ 22, missed long-range penalty kicks and fluffed another glorious chance after a brilliant midfield break by Tim Nanai-Williams, which saw him leave his cousin Sonny Bill Williams in his wake with a lethal step.
Samoa’s wastefulness was best illustrated when they lost possession 2m from the tryline, which allowed Beuden Barrett to score a self-converted try at the other end. Ardie Savea and Williams then drove home the All Blacks’ advantage by dotting down inside the final 10 minutes.
That was a sign of things to come as the All Blacks ran Samoa ragged in the second half.
Wings Israel Dagg and Julian Savea crossed the tryline in quick succession after the restart. That prompted coach Steve Hansen to bring on his substitutes, who injected more pace and power into the All Blacks’ attack.
The final 25 minutes saw Codie Taylor, Beauden Barrett, debutant Vaea Fifita, TJ Penerana, Ardie Savea and Sam Cane score brilliant tries to claim a convincing win that sent a big warning to the British & Irish Lions.
All Blacks – Tries: Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett (2), Ardie Savea (2), Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea, Codie Taylor, Vaea Fifita, TJ Perenara, Sam Cane. Conversions: Barrett (7), Lima Sopoaga (2).
All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 BrodieRetallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Samoa – 15 Ah See Tuala, 14 Albert Nikoro, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Tim Nanai-Williams, 10 Tusiata Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Maatulimanu Leiataua, 1 Viliamu Afatia.
Subs: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Taiasina Tuifua, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Auvasa Falealii, 22 D’Angelo Leuila, 23 Ken Pisi.
Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Getty Images