In Depth

All Blacks trample Samoa - but what can the Lions learn?

New Zealand run in 12 tries against Pacific Islanders in a chilling warning to the tourists

New Zealand's All Blacks delivered a stark warning to the British and Irish Lions as they went on the rampage against Samoa in Auckland, eight days before they face Warren Gatland's side.

It was their first match for seven months and "if this is what the All Blacks are like when they are rusty, heaven knows what awaits the Lions in eight days' time", says Chris Foy of the Daily Mail, [] who calls it a "truly onimous" performance from Steve Hansen's side.

"Opening night for the All Blacks was about as word-perfect as they could have hoped," agrees Owen Slot of The Times. "They scored 12 tries. They didn't concede a point. They looked slick. They scored tries from broken play and then scored tries from first phase too. 

"Lions fans looking for hope didn't get what they wanted."

Samoa started well, but New Zealand repelled their initial attacks and then took control, after which the game "descended into little more than an overblown training run", says Jim Kayes of The Guardian

"The game allowed the All Blacks to get their combinations going and at times their skills (especially in the offload) were simply scintillating. No other team is able to link so seamlessly between backs and forwards."

However, the message may not be as clear cut as it appears. "This match was so lopsided it was tricky to tell how good the All Blacks were and how poor Samoa," says the Guardian's Kayes.  

"Gatland learnt again from this warm up game the secret to beating New Zealand isn't much of a secret. The Lions will have to keep it tight, make it an arm wrestle, be disciplined, kick carefully and make their tackles. Lots of tackles."

Containing the All Blacks is only part of the equation. The Lions are unlikely to wilt in the same way as the Samoans, says Jack de Menezes of The Independent. But "that is not the challenge facing Gatland's side. The challenge is beating them, and when they play like this you wonder if it can really be done."

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