All Blacks to face Samoa before B&I Lions
NEWS: The All Blacks hope to warm-up for the British and Irish Lions tour with a Test match against Samoa.
This revelation was made by New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive Steve Tew.
Tew said the world champions wanted a hit-out before the first Test against the Lions on June 24 in Auckland and were in talks with the Pacific Islanders, who are renowned for their hard-tackling approach.
He said the All Blacks benefited from a similar warm-up against Fiji the last time the Lions toured in 2005, when they won the series 3-0.
"In 2005, we played Fiji and that set us up very well for a very good first-off Test match in Christchurch," Tew told SkySports.
"So we're looking at that option, Samoa's definitely one of those things that we're working our way through at the moment."
Tew also rejected criticism of the Lions' gruelling tour schedule, which sees them face all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams and the Maori All Blacks, as well as playing three Tests.
He said the tourists had asked for a challenge after their 2-1 series win in Australia in 2013.
"The Lions said they wanted a tougher itinerary than they got in Australia," he said.
"They wanted to play the five Super Rugby sides and they deliberately chose to play the Maori All Blacks the week before the first Test.
"So they've actually got what they wanted."
Tew joked that doubts about taking on the Super Rugby sides may have emerged after the Chiefs thrashed the touring Wales side 40-7 last year.
However, he believed the Lions would be a different story.
"They're going to come out here with a lot of depth and a lot of talent," he said.
"If they don't get hit with injuries in critical positons we're in for a hell of a series."