RWC 2011: All Blacks cruise to opening-night win
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AUCKLAND, 9 Sept. - New Zealand kicked off Rugby World Cup 2011 with a display of pace and power to see off Pool A opponents Tonga 41-10.
The result was all but sealed by half-time thanks to full back Israel Dagg and wing Richard Kahui each crossing for two tries.
Cheered on by their rapturous support at Eden Park, the Tongans tore into the All Blacks from the whistle, but the defence held firm, and it wasn't long before New Zealand conjured some attacks of their own.
Fly half Dan Carter, who opened the scoring with an early penalty, was soon orchestrating his backline with aplomb, and centre Sonny Bill Williams increasingly came into the game with some deft offloads.
Tonga found some resilience after the break and their aggressive tackling thwarted the All Blacks' continued raids on their line. Isaia Toeava went close for the All Blacks but the video referee ruled he had been tackled into touch.
Eventually the New Zealand pressure told and in the 59th minute Kahui regathered his own kick to put flanker Jerome Kaino in for his fifth international try.
Replacement prop Alisona Taumalolo scored a consolation try for Tonga near the end - only their second-ever try against New Zealand.
The Sea Eagles' fly half Kurt Morath, who had kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time, added the conversion.
The final word went to All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu, who ran strongly all match and crossed under the posts to seal the match, and Piri Weepu added the extras after Dan Carter was substituted.