All Blacks Play­ing Samoa Be­fore the Lions

NZ Rugby World - - 2017 The Year In Review -

The All Blacks be­gan the year with­out a fix­ture in place be­fore they took on the Lions in the first test at Eden Park.

If they had gone in cold, it’s a rea­son­able bet they would have lost. The All Blacks are no­to­ri­ously slow starters and play­ing against a qual­ity Lions side that had plenty of rugby be­hind it, things could have turned ugly.

So a test was ar­ranged against Samoa the week be­fore and boy did that help. The All Blacks were able to get the worst of the rust scraped off and find some kind of pat­terns and rhythms in their game.

It was a hugely ben­e­fi­cial ex­er­cise – even if Samoa were aw­ful – and was a ma­jor fac­tor in why the All Blacks were able to dom­i­nate the first test.

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