Carter kicks New Zealand to historic victory over Samoa

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Samoa 16 New Zealand 25

Dan Carter underlined why he will be a key figure for New Zealand at the World Cup later this year as his left boot underpinned a 25-16 victory over Samoa at Apia Park.

In a historic fixture that marked the first time the All Blacks have played on Samoan soil, Carter once again proved to be the visitors’ linchpin by landing a conversion to George Moala’s try on debut and six penalties.

New Zealand led 19-3 early on in the second half but the Samoans battled back, led by flanker Alafoti Faosiliva’s try and Tusi Pisi’s three penalties, to ensure their opponents were made to battle for their win.

New Zealand had thrashed Samoa 101-14 the last time these sides met in New Plymouth seven years ago, but were missing some key players as they made a sloppy start to their Test season.

They never trailed, however, with two Carter penalties in the opening 20 minutes giving them some breathing room in the early stages.

Pisi got Samoa off the mark with a long-range three-pointer but another two penalties from Carter lifted New Zealand into a 12-3 lead after an opening 40 minutes that was marked by handling errors from both teams.

That was stretched even further six minutes after the restart when wing Moala took fly-half Carter’s crossfield kick before shrugging off a couple of weak tackles to go over the line.

Carter added the extras and knocked over his fifth penalty after Pisi had slotted another two of his own.

Samoa closed the gap to six points when Faosiliva charged through Charles Piutau’s tackle to touch down, with full-back Tim Nanai-Williams slotting in the conversion to the delight of the capacity crowd of 8,104.

That gave the home side plenty of hope, which was only extinguished by Carter’s sixth and final penalty in the 74th minute following a poor scrum from Samoa.