All Blacks Playing Samoa Before the Lions
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.