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Rusty All Blacks rout Fiji to open season

New Zealand blew off the cobwebs with a 60-14 hammering of Fiji in Dunedin on Friday to make a solid start...

Piri Weepu scores a try against Fiji during their rugby union Test match at Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin on 22 July 2011. Picture: AFP

New Zealand blew off the

cobwebs with a 60-14 hammering of Fiji in Dunedin on Friday to

make a solid start to a season they hope will end with a World

Cup triumph on home soil.

The All Blacks ran in eight tries, the pick of them from

starting flyhalf Colin Slade and replacement scrumhalf Piri

Weepu, but will be disappointed with aspects of their game as

they look ahead to next week's Tri-Nations meeting with South

Africa.

Fiji lost 91-0 the last time they faced the All Blacks in

2005 and so were delighted with a spirited performance that was

rewarded with second-half tries for Nemia Serelevu and Vereniki

Goneva.

Although the All Blacks were far from their ruthless,

rampaging best, there was never any prospect of the kind of

upset Australia suffered against Samoa last Sunday.

"I think it's a start, there's some good things there, we

may not have got all the detail dead right but you can see it's

going to come," All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said.

"We've got plenty to work on over the next few days but at

least we got that under our belts."

The home side always looked likely to score when they put

sustained pressure on the Fijians and that was the case when

Sitiveni Sivivatu, who scored four tries on debut against the

country of his birth in the 2005 meeting, crossed in the corner

after 10 minutes.

Slade, competing for the spot as deputy to Dan Carter in the

World Cup squad, had already kicked two penalties on his first

test start when his well-judged chip over the defence allowed

him to regather off the post and extend the lead 13 minutes

later.

FIJIAN DOMINANCE

But the All Blacks machine then stalled for a while before

hooker Andrew Hore played winger to score the third try after 35

minutes and impressive blindside flanker Adam Thomson added

another by inching over from close range just before the break.

With a 32-0 lead at halftime, the All Blacks would have been

hoping to push on in the second half but it was more than 20

minutes before they could add to their tally.

The Fijians got just desserts for their dominance of the

third quarter of the match when flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu

capitalised on turnover ball with an explosive break down the

left touchline before feeding scrumhalf Serelevu.

Weepu had just replaced an out-of-sorts Jimmy Cowan when his

grubber kick allowed Conrad Smith to break the All Black

second-half drought and Slade's last act before being replaced

by Carter was to convert the try to make the score 39-7.

Six minutes later Weepu was involved three times in a

sweeping move which resulted in him crossing the line but a fine

individual effort from replacement winger Goneva soon cut the

deficit to 46-14.

Australian referee Stuart Dickinson's pedantry around the

scrum climaxed with a penalty try to the All Blacks four minutes

from the siren, however, and there was still time for fullback

Mils Muliaina to celebrate his 95th test with his 33rd try for

his country.

"We were pleased with some of the things we were doing," Fiji

skipper Deacon Manu said. "The scoreline got away from us at the

end and that's quite disappointing."

Timeline

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