All Blacks scorch hapless Fiji

The All Blacks turned their first rugby assignment of the year into a tryscoring jamboree, running Fiji off their feet 91-0 at North Harbour Stadium here tonight.

There were few signs of rust more than six months since their last game, as they racked up 15 tries, 11 of them to backs. That included four to winger Sitiveni Sivivatu, creating a record for an All Black on test debut.

The only dark point of the night was the sight of captain Tana Umaga limping from the field in the 65th minute.

Umaga, a dominant performer tonight and whose experience will be crucial in the series against the Lions, appeared relaxed after the game.

The All Blacks' lesson in fluent, attacking rugby was a stark reminder to the Lions the sort of threat the New Zealanders pose out wide.

However, it was difficult to assess New Zealand's prospects in the upcoming three-test series from a performance against infinitely inferior opponents.

It was a record defeat of Fiji and fourth biggest winning margin in All Blacks history.

Up 50-0 at halftime, the All Blacks looked set to break the century. However, they managed just eight successful conversions from 15 attempts.

The Fijian resistance crumbled and entertaining the 23,500 crowd appeared to be the order of the day.

It was a devastating result for the Fijians, who lost just 27-29 to the New Zealand Maori in Suva last weekend.

Coach Wayne Pivac spoke this week of the improvement in his side in recent times but aside from a sound lineout, they were beaten everywhere else, barely creating a single chance for their speedy outside men.

It was Fijian-born Sivivatu's night from the outset, a big hit on opposite Vilimoni Delasau in the opening minute was followed by a scorching burst past him on the outside, no mean feat.

His first test try took 17 minutes to come, but was spoiled somewhat when the ground announcer called it was scored by Joe Rokocoko, Sivivatu's cousin and the man whose All Blacks No 11 jersey he had inherited.

Sivivatu now seems sure to be included in the All Blacks squad of 26 to be named on Sunday for the Lions series.

Umaga made a point of shaking the hand of the six All Blacks debutants before the national anthem and each responded with quality performances.

Lock James Ryan and hooker Derren Witcombe were industrious while flanker Sione Lauaki, prop Campbell Johnstone and fullback Sosene Anesi all had their moments after coming on in the second spell.

The All Blacks first try was arguably their best when they swept the length of the field after Fiji had turned down a penalty shot at goal.

First five-eighth Daniel Carter, in majestic form until rested at halftime, broke from inside his 22m and then took the final pass before fending off Delasau.

The lead was doubled when winger Doug Howlett scored from a pinpoint Aaron Mauger kick and then Sivivatu received a well-weighted Carter cross kick to score the easiest of tries.

The All Blacks scored their fourth try inside 20 minutes from a new-look scrum move which saw Carter throw a long pass to captain Tana Umaga on the left wing.

There was a moment to savour soon afterwards when prop Greg Somerville was driven over for his first try in a 42-test career.

The tryscoring returned to the backs, with Umaga, Sivivatu and Mauger crossing before halftime.

A significant change saw Carter replaced, with Mauger taking over at first five-eighth and Mils Muliaina moving to centre. It allowed Anesi to make a bright debut at fullback as the backline continued to create havoc.

Sivivatu scored his third try and lock Ali Williams gratefully accepted an intercept to gallop over within five minutes of the restart to score his.

Rodney So'oialo, who made a fine job of replacing Richie McCaw at openside flank in the second half, plunged over from a dominant scrum and Howlett snared his second before the three-quarter mark.

Replacement hooker Keven Mealamu scored before Sivivatu bagged his record with nine minutes on the clock and Muliana rounded out the scoring.

Henry said Sivivatu's debut vindicated the faith the selectors had in him.

"He's got a good feel for the game, he's got good touches and he's physical as well."

Dejected Fiji coach Wayne Pivac believed his team wouldn't compete at the highest level until a funding problem at home was resolved and the national team played more test matches.

"Money is very important in any professional sport but games are also important," Pivac said.

"Today showed the big gulf between big nations and the second tier. There is a big gap."

Tonight's result was a sharp reality check, exposing particularly the poor fitness level of his team.

"Nobody likes to get a beating at any level of the game. New Zealand are a class side, they wouldn't be ranked No 1 in the world otherwise.

"It's fair to say we're disappointed."

Pivac cast a new light on tomorrow's Lions-Maori match, when he said the All Blacks were "five steps ahead" of the Maori team judging by the opposition his team had faced in the past week.

All Blacks 91

(Sitiveni Sivivatu 4, Tana Uamga 2, Doug Howlett 2, Mils Muliaina, Aaron Mauger , Greg Somerville, Daniel Carter, Ali Williams, Rodney So'oialo, Keven Mealamu tries; Carter 5 con; Mauger 3 con)

Halftime: 50-0

- NZPA

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