NEW ZEALAND icon the All Blacks celebrated their 1000th representative Saturday night with a comfortable, yet far from
satisfactory, 50-6 victory over Samoa.
Scoring seven tries to none demonstrated the All Black dominance over their opposition but the fact bearded behemoth
Carl Hayman's appearance off the bench as replacement tighthead prop was the game highlight - with the big Otago
frontrower earning eternal fame as All Black no 1000 - proved the opening test oof 2001 was a far from the titantic
struggle tests are renowned for.
Instead the game was more of a testing ground for performances in the lead-up to tougher encounters against the
Wallabies and Springbok later in the season. Seen in that light the All Black XV showed first game jitters, making
several errors and taking poor options.
Up front - where the winning of hard tests will be found - the black scrum struggled and needs work but the lineout and
overall effort from the tight five boded well for the future.
The front five dominance set the platform from which the seven tries - featuring a Tony Brown hatrick and one each to
Doug Howlett, Norm Maxwell, Troy Flavell and Jeff Wilson - were engineered.
While it may be expected in the season opener to see teamwork a little out off kilter individuals have to step up in the
black jersey no matter who the opposition and in terms of stamping their ownership on their respective positionseveral
All Blacks stood out.
Following on from his outstanding game for the Maori last week All Black lock Troy Flavell was superb on both defence
and attack. His locking partner Maxwell was also tremendous while Reuben Thorne and Greg Somerville also stood out with
In addition to his hatrick Otago 1st five Brown finished with 35 points and had a sensational mistake free game in the
pivot's position. His fellow half Byron Kelleher also had a good game and their combination is sure to place pressure on
Justin Marshall and Andrew Mehrtens.
In the crucial No 7 jersey Marty Holah was consistently on the ball but he failed to impose himself on the game in the
manner of a true world class breakaway. Time will tell but on last night's effort Holah will be found wanting against
the likes of Wallaby George Smith and Bok's Andre Venter, Bob Skinstad and Corne Krige.
On the other side the Samoan's tackled hard and gave their all but in the end a team of globe-trotting club players were
never going to compete against New Zealand's finest.