Lions beware! All Blacks put 78 points past Samoa

All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett runs past Samoa's Kieron Fonotia. Picture: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP
All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett runs past Samoa's Kieron Fonotia. Picture: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP
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New Zealand sent a daunting message to the British and Irish Lions ahead of their first Test at Eden Park next Saturday with a 78-0 victory over Samoa.

The hosts ran in 12 tries in a dominant display of attacking rugby.

New Zealand's Israel Dagg on the attack in the crushing win over Samoa. Picture: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand's Israel Dagg on the attack in the crushing win over Samoa. Picture: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images

The visitors enjoyed most of the possession and territory in the opening 10 minutes before New Zealand found their groove, with Beauden Barrett scoring 24 points, including two tries.

Ardie Savea also scored a brace with further tries from Sonny-Bill Williams, Anton Lienert-Brown, Israel Dagg, Codie Taylor, Julian Savea, Vaea Fifita, TJ Perenara and Sam Cane in a vintage performance by Steve Hansen’s side.

Samoa started the contest in blistering fashion with a three-minute rolling attack which brought them within five metres of the Kiwi’s try line before a neck roll from Faifili Levave on Ardie Savea brought an end to their early dominance.

New Zealand started to gain momentum and took the lead after opting to take a scrum five metres out. A powerful run off the back by Ardie Savea was halted inches from the whitewash before Barrett darted to the line before offloading inside to Lienert-Brown.

Albert Nikoro missed two long-range penalties for a chance to reduce the deficit before Tim Nanai-Williams broke through the New Zealand defensive line to release Alapati Leiua only for his rushed pass to float straight into touch.

Leiua breached the host’s defence once more before a knock-on from outside centre Kieron Fonotia gifted the ball to New Zealand full-back Ben Smith for a break of his own, and following offloads from Aaron Smith and Williams, Barrett kicked the ball on to dive for a fantastic break-away try to extend their lead to 14-0.

New Zealand increased their advantage in their next attack three minutes later following a swift move from the back of a scrum, with number eight Ardie Savea strolling under the posts for his third international try.

Brodie Retallick should have joined the scorers after a neat interchange with Dagg but the lock failed to gather the ball from the return pass with the line at his mercy, before Williams crashed over from close range just before the break to put the Kiwis 28-0 ahead at half-time.

It did not take long for the hosts to cross the whitewash after the break when Lienert-Brown broke past three Samoa defenders, before a fine pass out of the back of his hand found Dagg to touch down for his 25th international score.

The hosts built up pressure on the right wing before switching play to the left, with slick passing which resulted in Julian Savea dotting down for his 46th try for New Zealand.

A quick line-up from Julian Savea and Ben Smith found a gap in the Samoa defence which led to Taylor scoring under the posts.

Two wonderful passing moves lead to Barrett’s second try of the match and Fafita’s first international Test score.

Perenara was put in for an easy score after supporting the break from fellow substitute Lima Sopoaga to extend their lead further before Ardie Savea sealed a clinical performance with his second and his side’s 12th and final try of the match.

Much of the pre-match talk was about the potential historic moment of three brothers playing at the same time for New Zealand after Barrett and siblings Jordie and Scott were all called up, but despite all three featuring they were never on the pitch at the same time.