Sunday 25 February 2018 / 03:07 AM


The All Blacks produced one of the most rampant displays of running rugby you are ever likely to see in crushing Manu Samoa 78-0 at Eden Park on Friday night.

The visitors competed strongly early, restricting the world champs to just a 12th-minute Anton Lienert-Brown try in the first 28 minutes and going close themselves on several occasions.

But Beaduen Barrett (30th minute), Ardie Savea (34th) and Sonny Bill Williams (40th) crossed in quick succession for New Zealand to power to a 28-0 halftime lead – and set the tone for the rest of the match.

The All Blacks piled on eight second-half tries – with Barrett (who finished with 24 points) and Savea completing doubles – including several spectacular long-range efforts featuring deft kicks and brilliant support play. Giant forward Vaea Fifita marked his first Test by finishing off a 60-metre movement.

Captain for the night, Ben Smith, had a blinder from fullback, while debutant Jordie Barrett and Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga made eye-catching cameos from the bench in the final quarter of a one-sided international.

Williams all but cemented the No.12 jumper for the first Test against the British and Irish Lions with a typically dynamic display, albeit against thoroughly outclassed opposition.

In the first match of the Auckland double-header, an under-strength Wales subdued Tonga 24-6 in a dour two-tries-to-none affair.

[YouTube – All Blacks]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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