All Blacks cruise past Taranaki, Counties

New Zealand warmed up for their Rugby Championship opener with a 57-7 win over Taranaki before they beat Counties-Manukau 49-0 on Friday.

The game of three halves saw the All Blacks first run in nine tries against the 'Naki with Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Lima Sopoaga, Waisake Naholo, Ngani Laumape and Ben Smith all scoring, Sopoaga kicking a further 12 points.

In their second match, against the Steelers, it was another emphatic showing from New Zealand as Sam Cane (2), Tu'ungafasi, Sopoaga, Nathan Harris, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ioane went over. Sopoaga and Damian McKenzie kicked eight and six points off the tee respectively.

New Zealand open their Rugby Championship campaign away to Australia next weekend and will have been happy to see Dane Coles get more minutes under his belt in a strong showing. Fly-half Beauden Barrett sat out the match played in front of 12,000 spectators in Pukekohe.

Game versus Taranaki

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Retallick, Tu'ungafasi, R Ioane, A Smith, Lienert-Brown, Sopoaga, Naholo, Laumape, B Smith
Cons: Sopoaga 6

For Taranaki:
Try: Lea
Con: McKenzie

Game versus Counties

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Cane 2, Tu'ungafasi, Sopoaga, Harris, Kerr-Barlow, R Ioane
Cons: Sopoaga 4, McKenzie 3