Dixon wants improvements for Māori All Blacks next encounter

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The game was the first of two as the Samoans prepare for their Rugby World Cup elimination games with Tonga ahead of France 2023.


They hadn't played since 2019, but Dixon felt that with the amount of rugby the Maori had played in the last two seasons, they could have been better.


"I think when you can finish like that, and with a score like that, you are always pretty happy with it.


"There was definitely a lot of intent and endeavour with a lot of things, but I felt we missed a lot of detail tonight on a few things.


"Even though it was a short week I expected a little bit more from us. Yes, I am still stoked we got our game where it was today," he said.


Dixon said having played a lot together over the last two years he felt they could have done better with ball control and going into contact because short turnarounds were familiar to them.



It came down to personal pride, and he was sure that would be attended to ahead of their second game, in Auckland, at the weekend.


The lack of a crowd due to Covid-19 level two lockdown in Wellington was a distraction and may have contributed.


Dixon said he liked playing in front of a crowd and its associated noise. It was one of the reasons for playing, to showcase the game for people in New Zealand.


Coach Clayton McMillan said he agreed with his captain. Some elements were good.


"I thought our set-piece in the second half started to wear Samoa down. There were certainly plenty of opportunities, but I guess what Ash was alluding to was we didn't nail them. We didn't hold onto the ball long enough to create enough pressure on Samoa.


"It was tough conditions. He's probably being a bit hard on himself. It was a lot nicer sitting up in the stands. There were some cold boys out there," he said.


Their challenge would be to review well and look to get better because one of the beauties of playing the same team on consecutive weeks was which team could find the most gains before their next game, he said.

Samoa were a proud side with some good athletes and they would be also looking to improve, especially with the incentive of being able to play in front of families and friends at Mt Smart Stadium.


"It's going to be an interesting week, and an interesting game next week," he said.



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