78-0 'just the start', Hansen tells Lions

Steve Hansen (Gallo)
Steve Hansen (Gallo)

Auckland - The All Blacks' 12-try demolition of Samoa was "just the start", coach Steve Hansen said Friday, warning the British and Irish Lions that his world champions can only get better.

But Hansen held back on predicting the outcome of the three-Test series which starts next weekend, other than saying the All Blacks needed to improve on their runaway 78-0 win against Samoa.

The All Blacks scored four tries to lead 28-0 at half-time before running away with a 50-point second half as their confidence grew.

The tries flowed from an alertness to counter-attack at the slightest opportunity, and with some audacious off-loads that baffled the Samoan defence.

Conversely there were errors, particularly in the first line of defence, although the cover ensured the Samoans were kept scoreless.

"We've still got a lot of work to do," said Hansen, who considered the All Blacks were good but not yet good enough.

"We know that we needed the game. We weren't worried about the scoreline, other than we wanted to be in front. The key thing we wanted was to get combinations going.

"We did a lot of things well but it's just the start. This team's going to have to be way better at everything we do if we want to compete against the Lions."

Hansen was not prepared to list the areas to be worked on but indicated they were crucial to the All Blacks' success.

"We've got a critical few skill sets that we work on, I won't tell you what they are, but they're the things we know if we do them really well we've got a good chance of winning," he said.

The All Blacks fielded what is likely to be their first Test line-up with the exception of the back row, where Kieran Read is expected to return from eight weeks sidelined with a broken thumb.

However, Hansen said he would not comment on Read's availability before his side is named next Thursday.

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