The All Blacks produced some stunning rugby running in 12 tries overall as they prepared for the British & Irish Lions with a thrashing of Samoa
So 12 tries in all, nine converted, with not a single point conceded. Samoa started the game in the ascendency and played well for 30 minutes, but the rapid counterattack which sparked New Zealand’s third try seemed to kill their challenge. What followed was a scintillating display of running rugby and slick hands.
Next for the All Blacks is the Lions in eight days’ time at Eden Park. It will be some spectacle. That’s all from me, thanks for reading.
All Blacks captain Ben Smith speaks: “Samoa started out really physical and really tested us. There’s a lot of learnings there that’ll be great for our group. When we did the basics well we profited and managed to score a few tries. We’ll look to recover and look forward to next week.”
The score tells the story of a remarkable performance.
80 min New Zealand 78-0 Samoa Just extraordinarily good. The All Blacks show off their handling skills again, and when TJ Peranara charges to the line he opts to hand the ball generously to Lima Sopoaga to go over… but it’s ruled out for a forward pass earlier in the move!
Another high kick is caught brilliantly, this time by Jordie Barrett, and the hands are sublime to work it to Sam Cane to go over. Stunning rugby by the All Blacks once more.
7 min New Zealand 78-0 Samoa Sopoaga converts.
This is some audacious rugby. They fly down the blindside and when Julian Savea hands the ball to TJ Peranara he opts for an ingenious chip for Ardie Savea to collect and touch down like basketball players pulling off an alley-oop.
75 min New Zealand 66-0 Samoa The All Blacks have a scrum after a knock-on near the halfway line. They have been devastating from these situations in this match.
73 min New Zealand 66-0 Samoa Lima Sopoaga pulls the conversion just wide of the posts.
Jordie becomes the third Barrett brother in this match, coming on at full-back. He makes some ground down the left wing and when they move it into the centre, Lima Sopoaga skips through the disjointed defence and uses TJ Perenara on his shoulder, who runs it in. Ten tries!
68 min New Zealand 61-0 Samoa Samoa have a scrum inside their own half, and an early push by the All Blacks concedes a free-kick.
66 min New Zealand 61-0 Samoa In the absence of Kieran Read, and with Ben Smith and Sam Whitelock replaced, Brodie Retallick is now the All Blacks captain. He has been sensational so far today.
63 min New Zealand 61-0 Samoa Lima Sopoaga adds the conversion.
Israel Dagg collects the ball on the right wing and suddenly turns up the pace, attracting a couple of defenders before feeding Caea Fifita on the outside to finish off a flowing team move.
60 min New Zealand 54-0 Samoa Beauden Barrett adds the two points and that is his day done. His form looks worryingly good from the Lions’ perspective.
This try comes from a scrum in the All Blacks’ half. Several offloads at full speed, in particular by Sonny Bill Williams and Julian Savea, and it all sets up Barrett running into the corner.
58 min New Zealand 47-0 Samoa TJ Peranara replaces Aaron Smith at scrum-half for the All Blacks. Ken Pisi is on for Samoa’s Albert Nikoro.
57 min New Zealand 47-0 Samoa Barrett adds the conversion.
A brilliant dash from Ben Smith who collects a quick Savea lineout and speeds through the Samoa backline before setting up Codie Taylor to run under the posts.
55 min New Zealand 40-0 Samoa A raft of changes with Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock and Joe Moody among those making way. Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina and Scott Barrett, Beauden’s brother, come on.
53 min New Zealand 40-0 Samoa Finally Barrett misses a kick.
Julian Savea starts the move breaking through a couple of tackles, and when Retallick powers down the right wing it opens space for the All Blacks to work it along the line for Savea to finish in the left corner.
50 min New Zealand 35-0 Samoa The Samoan pressure is eventually relieved by a penalty for not releasing, and Barrett can boot the ball downfield to touch.
48 min New Zealand 35-0 Samoa A huge tackle by Owen Franks on Leiataua, and the All Blacks are defending well on their own 22. An ominous prediction from John McEnerney:
@lawrenceostlere “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” sluggish & 4 tries wait till they open up in the 2nd half. SBW 2 run riot v The Lions
46 min New Zealand 35-0 Samoa Samoa get their hands on the ball and work through the phases, before an offside against Lienert-Brown hands them a penalty. Pisi boots towards the corner but doesn’t get particularly close, admittedly from a tight angle, but not even reaching the 22.
The Lions will be watching this match closely, though it might not be making for enjoyable viewing. Here’s the latest news from the tourists’ camp:
Related: Lions to call up replacements to provide cover for midweek fixtures
43 min New Zealand 35-0 Samoa Barrett keeps up his perfect record for the evening with the boot.
That didn’t take long. This try is all about Anton Lienert-Brown, who darts into a tiny gap on the blindside and times his offload to perfection, leaving Israel Dagg with a simple finish into the corner.
No changes at the break.
The players are back out on the field…
This match is the second of a double header at Eden Park today – here’s what happened in the first:
Barrett adds the extras, and after a slightly sluggish start the All Blacks will be very pleased with their work, racking up four converted tries without reply.
From a scrum close to the Samoa line the All Blacks feed a charging Sonny Bill Williams who batters his way through to touch down.
38 min New Zealand 21-0 Samoa The scrum is turned over and the All Blacks will finish the half on the front foot searching for a fourth try.
37 min New Zealand 21-0 Samoa The All Blacks are enjoying themselves now, scything the Samoa defence open and only a misjudged final pass by Israel Dagg prevents Brodie Retallick from going over. Instead he knocks on and Samoa will have a scrum on five metres.
35 min New Zealand 21-0 Samoa That try was as good as rugby gets from a set-piece situation. Barrett adds two more.
This is straight from the training paddock. New Zealand work the ball into the openside from a scrum, runners gliding either side of the ball carrier as they mesmerise Samoa into submission. Barrett makes the crucial break and feeds Ardie Savea who runs under the posts. A lovely move.
31 min New Zealand 14-0 Samoa The replay showed just how well Sonny Bill Williams collected the ball mid-air having initially juggled it, before releasing in the tackle. Barrett adds the conversion.
A crazy try, this. It started from a lightning Samoa break through the All Blacks defence, but they can’t quite find the finish and when Ben Smith pinches the ball near his own line he sparks a rapid counterattack. The All Blacks move the ball brilliantly via Sonny Bill Williams and then to Barrett, who fly-hacks his way to the line and touches down near the corner.
27 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Yet another penalty for Samoa in the centre of the field, this time the All Blacks not releasing after the tackle. Good pressure from Samoa at the breakdown – the Lions will be watching with interest. Unsuprisingly, Nikoro kicks to touch this time.
25 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Another 50 metre kick with the same result, Nikoro’s effort falling just short of the posts. I don’t think he will be given the chance to try that a third time.
23 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Nanai-Williams tries another cheeky step but this time Jeroma Kaino shuts the door. But the All Blacks concede a penalty for hands in the ruck and Nikoro will get another go at a long-range kick.
21 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa A stunning sidestep and dart by Nanai-Williams in the middle of the field opens the All Blacks up. He carries 40 metres before offloading but the final pass by Alapati Leiua is misplaced as they were closing in on the corner.
19 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Samoa bring out the running rugby with which they started the game. A little kick through the All Blacks line is brilliantly anticipated by Ben Smith, who bravely collects the ball in the face of a couple of Samoan runners. But Aaron Smith’s kick a moment later goes out on the full and Samoa will have a lineout in the All Blacks’ half.
17 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Sonny Bill Williams gets his first chance to run with the ball in hand, and produces a typically slick offload to release Smith. But a couple of phases later Barrett has the ball ripped from his grasp in the tackle and Samoa come away with it.
15 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa It was 50 metres out and perhaps a little too far for Nikoro whose kick falls just short of the posts.
14 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Samoa respond well to the early setback, with prop Census Johnston causing enough trouble at the ruck to earn a penalty. Wing Albert Nikoro will have a kick from some way out.
13 min New Zealand 7-0 Samoa Barrett adds the straightforward conversion.
Ardie Savea picks from the back of the scrum and is brought down inches from the line, but from the next phase they spread it into the centre for Barrett who powers into the line, and when the ball pops loose Anton Lienert-Brown is alert to touch down.
11 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa Samoa elect not to compete the lineout allow New Zealand to set up a maul which is collapsed by the visitors under pressure. The All Blacks elect a scrum, five metres out. This looks threatening.
9 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa New Zealand win a Samoa lineout and make a first attack in their opponents’ half. They win a penalty for hands in the ruck and show their intentions with a kick into the corner, when three points were on.
7 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa Aaron Smith unleashes a huge punt downfield which has the Samoan back three running towards their own line, but the wing Tim Nanai-Williams responds with a big boot of his own down into the corner.
5 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa A mistake by Beauden Barrett who drops the ball in the tackle and concedes a knock-on. A Samoa put-in on the halfway line.
3 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa The TMO Ian Smith awards the penalty to New Zealand near their own 22 for a neck roll on Ardie Savea. It seemed a little harsh and Samoa’s excellent start is undone.
2 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa Samoa work through phase after phase, closing in within five metres of the All Blacks’ try line, before referee Raynal suddenly stops the game to check on a potential neck roll. He will discuss with the TMO, Ian Smith.
1 min New Zealand 0-0 Samoa It’s a fast start as Samoa move the ball quickly after winning their own lineout near halfway. The All Blacks are having to make plenty of tackles as the visitors approach their 22.
Samoa start off proceedings with the Siva Tau, bringing roars from the crowd, and the All Blacks respond with their first Haka of the year. New Zealand might have edged it, intimidation-wise. Samoa will kick off.
Singing done. It’s Haka time.
Samoa are led out by Kahn Fotuali’i to a packed Eden Park. They are closely followed by New Zealand, who are unbeaten since 2009 at home having won a fairly ridiculous 45 matches in succession on home turf. It’s anthem time.
There’s plenty of brotherly love to go round in the New Zealand side today. Ardie and Julian Savea, who are of Samoan heritage, both start while fly-half Beauden Barrett has his two brothers, Scott and Jordie, sitting on the bench. Ardie Savea earns his place at No8 after the captain Keiran Read failed to recover from a broken thumb, with Read set to miss at least the opening Lions Test. Full-back Ben Smith captains the side in Read’s absence. Hooker Dane Coles remains sidelined, as do fly-half Aaron Cruden and centre Ryan Crotty.
The fans at Eden Park are being treated to an international Test match double-header and the first game has finished with a Wales victory over Tonga, winning 24-6. A good result for a young Welsh side with nine uncapped players in the matchday 23. There was a fine try by Alex Cuthbert in the midst of it all too after a chip and chase down the line.
Today New Zealand host Samoa at Eden Park, the stadium where in eight days the All Blacks will meet the British & Irish Lions in the first match of the series. It is New Zealand’s only warm-up game before taking on Warren Gatland’s touring side, and head coach Steve Hansen has not held back with his selection.
The Lions will be watching on closely hoping for signs of rustiness in an All Blacks team who have not yet played a Test match this year, but they are unlikely to find much; New Zealand’s starting XV have 724 Test caps between them and are boosted by the returns of lock Brodie Retallick and flanker Jermaine Kaino from injury, while Sonny Bill Williams will play for his country for the first time since the 2015 World Cup final having come through unscathed from the Blues’ win over the Lions last week.