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Players happy with Samoan hit out

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Sportal.co.nz     04 Sep 2008     Getty Images

Without the Samoa game, it would have been four weeks without rugby for the All Blacks who last played against South Africa on August 17.

That kind of break could end in tragedy and it is for this reason the Samoa Test was chalked in around six months ago.

All Blacks centre Conrad Smith was pleased with the way the team performed and said a run around was crucial in the preparation for bigger games.

"The idea was just to have a hit-out and have a run together and I think we did that," he said.

"It's tough to gauge too much from it, but our forward pack I think disrupted most of their ball so defensively it made it a lot easier for us.

"It might not have been ideal, we didn't play great footy the whole time but I think that was always going to happen and it's better doing that now than in a week and a half in Brisbane where it really counts."

The Samoan defence, was typically uncompromising and very physical, and asked a few questions of the All Black backline although didn't make too much of an impact.

Smith said it was good to have a bit of pressure mounted by the big Samoans who were running at them from all angles in defence.

"They offered something a bit different like the odd guy flying out of the line so it was something new to deal with and I thought we did pretty well most of the night."

All Blacks prop Greg Somerville had a solid game in the front row and was often seen running the ball in open play, a sight rarely seen in tough All Black matches.

The Cantabrian was pleased with how the game went for the forward pack and said there was no substitute for playing a proper game of rugby.

"We're reasonably happy with it and got some running back into our legs which we needed before we play Aussie and it's definitely better than having nothing at all," he said.

"It was a workout for us to get our set phases and it's a lot better than hitting a scrum machine so it was good to get a bit of live scrummaging under our belt."