New Zealand ease to emphatic win
Published 16/09/2011 | 11:32
New Zealand coasted to their second successive World Cup bonus-point victory as they predictably outclassed Japan 83-7 at Waikato Stadium.
The tournament favourites ran in 13 tries during a one-sided Pool A encounter, while fly-half Colin Slade contributed 23 points.
New Zealand shredded Japan at regular intervals with wing Richard Kahui (2), substitute Sonny Bill Williams (2) centres Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu, hooker Keven Mealamu, full-back Isaia Toeava, scrum-half Andy Ellis, flankers Jerome Kaino and Adam Thomson, Slade and Andrew Hore touching down.
Slade added nine conversions, although Japan at least gave their supporters something to cheer when wing Hirotoki Onozawa claimed a consolation score midway through the second half that Murray Williams converted.
The All Blacks were without injured trio Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina, but they still found early rhythm as Smith celebrated his 50th cap with a fourth-minute try.
Japan gave France a major scare six days ago, but they spent much of the first period defending as Kahui and Kaino added tries during a five-minute spell of pressure. Slade, though, missed three successive kicks at goal, which was a worry for All Blacks coach Graham Henry as Carter looks to shake off a back problem before next Saturday's potential group decider against France.
Skipper Mealamu then posted a fourth try before the break, converted by Slade, as New Zealand eased away from a committed, but limited, Japanese outfit.
And then the floodgates were prised open with further scores for Ellis and Slade, with the number 10 booting two more conversions.
Life threatened to get even tougher for Japan when Williams went on early in the second half, replacing wing Cory Jane, and New Zealand immediately struck again through Kahui's second try.
Williams took less than 10 minutes to breach Japan's defence, ghosting through in midfield, and then his brilliant run created a try for Nonu after Toeava and Hore had touched down. New Zealand continued to rattle along at a point a minute, and Williams completed the scoring spree when he rounded off a flowing move in the dying seconds.