NZ v Tonga
Cape Town - The All Blacks proved far too strong for Tonga as they ran out 47-9 winners in Friday night's Rugby World Cup clash in Newcastle.
The world champions were met by some strong Tongan defence early on, but they were on the board on 14 minutes when fullback Ben Smith capped off some good work from right wing Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Tongan flyhalf Kurt Morath then got his side their first points with a penalty on 25 minutes, but the All Blacks had their second try just five minutes later when Tony Woodcock crossed the whitewash.
The end to the first half was frantic as Tonga turned down a shot at goal and instead opted for an attacking lineout.
The result was a collapsed rolling maul, a yellow card for All Black captain Kieran Read and a series of scrum penalties for Tonga. In the end, they were stopped inches short of the line as the All Blacks somehow held on to preserve their 14-3 lead at half time.
The second half saw Tonga come out and pick up where they left off – taking the game to the All Blacks with passion and intensity.
A Morath penalty was their reward and it was 14-6 after 50 minutes.
But that seemed to spark the world champions into life, and they bounced back with a try through Milner-Skudder after a series of purposeful attacks proved too much for the Tongan defence.
Another Morath penalty kept Tonga interested, but immediately after that they were blown away when substitute Beauden Barrett stabbed through a kick that Milner-Skudder was first to react to.
Substitute Sonny Bill Williams was next, running in for the easiest of tries after an expertly timed and executed pass from scrumhalf Aaron Smith.
Sam Cane scored the All Blacks’ sixth try after a rolling maul from an attacking lineout was simply too much for 14-man Tonga to handle after replacement hooker Paula Ngauamo had been sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Dan Carter.
Ma’a nonu then stole the show in the final stages – collecting a pass from Milner-Skudder to score in his 100th Test for the All Blacks as a brave Tonga were put out of their misery.
NZ 47 (14)
Tries: Ben Smith, Tony Woodcock, Nehe Milner-Skudder(2), Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Cane, Ma’a Nonu
Conversions: Dan Carter (5)
Tonga 9 (3)
Penalties: Kurt Morath (3)