Kiwis thrash Tonga in Rugby World Cup opener
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Kiwis thrash Tonga in Rugby World Cup opener

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand took care of business with a comfortable 41-10 win over Tonga to open the seventh World Cup on Friday night.

After a rousing opening ceremony and passionate pre-match challenges, the All Blacks drained all the tension and anticipation by scoring four tries in the first 33 minutes, and finding the Tongans wanting out wide.

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New Zealand All Blacks Jerome Kaino makes a break up field against Tonga during their Rugby World Cup game at Eden Park in Auckland, Friday. Pic: AP.

Tonga’s renowned physical threat was exceeded by an aggressive New Zealand defense which didn’t concede Tonga’s sole try until near the end, and after a long, sustained assault.

Fullback Israel Dagg and winger Richard Kahui both had a pair of tries to produce a 29-3 lead by halftime, and while New Zealand stuttered after the break, backs Isaia Toeava and Ma’a Nonu also crossed.