Benefits all-round from game of halves

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    11 Aug 2017     Getty Images

Cane, who played in the second half against Counties Manukau, said: "I think we've probably struggled a wee bit in the last couple of years in these games but we put some good tries out on the park."

The local organisers had something of a festival feel around the game with music playing and there was a good crowd for a Friday night, he said.

But it was a long way different to the reception the side can expect in Sydney next week for the opening game of the Investec Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup against Australia.

Cane added that some of the younger players in the Taranaki and Counties Manukau sides probably enjoyed the chance to play against the All Blacks.

"It wasn't easy for them playing 40 minutes and then Counties Manukau having a 40-minute breather.

"I thank them for coming out and giving us a hit-out and hopefully they got something out of it too," he said.

There was a heavy concentration of players who needed game time in the selection.

"If you look at the whole context of the squad, some of the guys like the Blues and Highlanders haven't played for three weeks or a month [needed to play] and we've got the Crusaders boys who didn't hit out tonight because they're just back [from South Africa] so we've got guys in different boats.

"It's just trying to bring everyone up to the same speed pretty quickly," he said.

The All Blacks scored nine tries in their first half against Taranaki and seven more against Counties Manukau in the second game.

First five-eighths Beauden Barrett, who didn't play, said the experienced had been a good one.

"It's awesome, it's a great night and it's always good coming to the provinces and seeing the support like we have here tonight," he said.

Barrett said the All Blacks had wanted to play well and while they hadn't expected it to be perfect. It was about going out and having fun while playing well.

"It does mean we can build on this for next week and take a lot from tonight," he said.

Lock Leighton Price said Taranaki's half of rugby had been 'a hell of an experience' while also an honour.

"It's not every day you get to play against the All Blacks and although we got a few points put on the scoreboard against us, Marty McKenzie hit it on the head and we kept going for it, and going for each other and we didn't want to drop our lip and didn't walk around with our tail between our legs.

"It was enjoyable and I think the lads had a lot of fun out there," he said.

There had been benefits from the game for Taranaki to work on ahead of their Mitre 10 Cup programme while a couple of the players had stood up and showed what they possessed.

"And we hung in the fight and kept going so that was a positive," he said.