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...
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
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
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
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
"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."