New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter believes the physical nature of their Test win over Samoa will stand them in good stead this year.
Carter finished with 20 points as he kicked six penalties and a conversion in the historic meeting between the two sides in Apia.
Samoa to their credit pushed the All Blacks hard and Carter admitted that New Zealand were unable to get the ball wide as much as they would have liked.
Next up for New Zealand is the Rugby Championship opener with Argentina in Christchurch and Carter did enough to put himself in contention to start, on what will be an emotional final appearance at AMI Stadium before his move to Racing 92.
"[For the] Samoan boys who played today – it was a great place for them to play in front of their friends and family. You could tell it meant so much to them. I love playing in Christchurch – every time I play there in the black jersey it just means something special. For it to be last game in the black jersey there will mean a lot and I'll just do whatever I can to be a part of that game," Carter told the NZ Herald.
"There was space out in the wide channels. We managed to get the ball there with some success but not as often as we would have liked.
"The physicality was right up there and you expect that every time you come up against a Pacific Islands team. That was good and actually just what we needed in the first game of the season
"A few guys took a few big hits early and also our teammates gave a few as well. It puts you in good stead for the rest of the year. It's not going to be the only big hit I'm going to receive this year.
"I was reasonably happy. The kicking went well and my body felt better than it has for the last couple of years. I was running freely and getting plenty of game time for a change is a real positive."