Arnie Savea
Savea scored two tries on his number eight audition. Getty Images

New Zealand laid down an ominous marker ahead of the start of a three-test series against the British and Irish Lions, running in 12 tries during a 78-0 destruction of Samoa at Eden Park.

In the All Blacks' first competitive outing since November, Steve Hansen's side produced a polished display without conceding a single point. Admittedly, they were not pushed hard by the Pacific Islanders.

Beauden Barrett and Arnie Savea both scored a brace in each half while Anton Lienert-Brown enhanced his hopes for selection next week by opening the scoring.

Sonny-Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea, Codie Taylor, Vaea Fifita, TJ Perenara and Sam Cane all got in on the act to complete the comprehensive rout.

Kieran Read and Dane Coles both missed out through injury yet the Kiwis showed few signs of ring rust as they began their season with the easiest of wins. The result comes less than 24 hours before the Lions face their fifth tour match against the Maori All Blacks, where much of their first choice fifteen is expected to feature.

"We weren't that good come the 20-minute mark but at is what we expected," said two-time world cup winning coach Hansen. "There was a bit of rust and a lack of cohesion at times but as the game went on they started to work their rhythms and connections better.

"We're forming new formations and connections. Our line-out bettered up a bit as time went on and tidied up. You have to be happy. We've been in these situations before. It was a nice start.

"Are we the finished unit yet? Of course not but we know that. We've got a lot of work to do. We'll watch the Maori get into the Lions tomorrow night and we then get our chance the following Saturday."