New Zealand’s World Cup campaign started with victory as the Kiwis overcame Samoa 38-9.
Seen as outsiders at this year’s competition due to the loss of Jason Taumalolo, David Kidwell’s side set their stall out with a strong display against a typically aggressive Samoan side.
In a game of incredible physicality, it was the skill of New Zealand that was the difference between the two sides.
It was two of New Zealand’s biggest stars that gave them a 10-0 lead, as Jordan Rapana and Shaun Johnson scored to put them in control.
However, Samoa were competing well and went into the break just one score behind as Ken Maumalo scored to make in 10-4.
But the second period belonged to New Zealand as Brad Takairangi, Kodi Nikorima, Issac Liu, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Nelson Asofa-Solomona all scored, with Joseph Paulo replying for Samoa.
A full report will be in Monday’s League Express.
Tuivasa-Sheck, Watene-Zelezniak, Beale, Takairangi, Rapana, Nikorima, Johnson, Taupau, Leuluai, Blair, Bromwich, Tapine, Mannering. Subs: Asofa-Solomona, Packer, Liu, Levi.
Tries: Rapana, Johnson, Takairangi, Nikorima, Liu, Tuivasa-Sheck, Asofa-Solomona.
Goals: Johnson (5)
Tonumaipea, Mata’utia, Lafai, Leilua, Maumalo, Joseph Paulo, Roberts, Junior Paulo, Tevaga, Lisone, Papalii, Pritchard, Ah Mau. Subs: Godinet, Ese’ese, Matagi, Afoa.
Tries: Maumalo, Paulo