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.


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.