All Blacks overpower NZ provincial teams

The All Blacks have crushed Northland but toiled to victory against Counties Manukau in their three-way friendly match with the provincial sides in Pukekohe.

The world champions fell behind 7-0 to Counties until turning on the juice in the match’s second 20-minute period to grab five tries, including two from Israel Dagg.

They ultimately went on to win by a comfortable 35-7.

New Zealand had earlier crushed a poor Northland outfit 73-0 in their half-match.

The All Blacks didn’t take long to assert their supremacy over Northland, crossing the line in the third minute through loose forward Brodie Retallick.

Flanker Jerome Kaino and captain Kieran Read followed suit in the eighth and 12th minutes respectively as the All Blacks repeatedly broke the Northland defensive line.

Tries in the 16th and 21st minutes put real daylight between the sides, before first-five Aaron Cruden crossed in the 28th minute.

New Zealand made easy work of the Whangarei-based side, who are looking to improve on their last-place finish in the 2015 provincial championship.

They proceeded to score five additional tries, including one through besieged winger Julian Savea, to round out the half 73-0 ahead.

The All Blacks met significantly more resistance in their second ‘half’ against Counties Manukau, who opened the scoring with a surprise try in the fourth minute.

Openside flanker Fotu Lokotui barged his way over from a yard out after protracted rucking on the All Blacks’ tryline.

However the All Blacks’ class eventually prevailed, levelling the tie through a Dagg try in the 18th minute and taking the lead in the 24th minute through Read.

A second try to Dagg and tries to Waisake Naholo and Patrick Tuipulotu rounded off the affair.

Counties had earlier eased past Northland 24-5.

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