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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
All Blacks trounce Tonga
New Zealand 91-7 Tonga

Daniel Carter touches down New Zealand's second try
New Zealand 91 (35):
Tries: Braid, Carter, Flynn, Ralph (2), Spencer, Meeuws, Penalty, Muliaina (2), MacDonald, Howlett (2)
Cons: MacDonald (12), Spencer
Tonga: 7 (0)
Try: Hola
Con: Tu'ipolotu

New Zealand made ominously light work of a potentially hazardous pool fixture to secure their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The All Blacks ran in 13 tries to bring their tally for the tournament to 34 with a ruthless exhibition of running rugby.

Wings Caleb Ralph and Doug Howlett, and full-back Mils Muliaina all claimed a brace of scores as the tournament favourites flexed their muscles.

The most popular try came at the other end when Tonga stand-off Pierre Hola intercepted Justin Marshall's pass to touch down after 54 minutes.

But by then New Zealand were 56-0 to the good, and they continued to score at more than point a minute in the final quarter.

After a few early glitches, this was a much improved performance after earlier routs of Italy and Canada, with a radically reduced error count.

There was a further bonus in the goalkicking of Leon MacDonald, selected at centre as a possible alternative to the injured Tana Umaga for the knock-out stages.

We managed to keep going and getting the points
NZ captain Reuben Thorne
The Crusaders full-back converted 12 conversions from 12 attempts to solve one of New Zealand's problem areas.

The Tongans, as promised, brought plenty of endeavour to the party, producing a series of big hits in the early collisions.

It was a wonder how All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid was not decapitated by three attempted high tackles in quick succession.

But by then the 22-year-old had already claimed his first All Blacks try, emerging from underneath a rolling maul from a line-out after six minutes.

With the breakthrough secured relatively early, New Zealand rattled along at a point a minute for the next half-hour.

Leon MacDonald takes on the Tonga defence
MacDonald enjoyed a fine match
Four more tries followed before the interval, the pick of them a superbly executed score from Daniel Carter in the 16th minute.

Howlett, running out of space on the right wing, sent a kick back in-field which Carter gathered before handing off two tacklers on route to the line.

Hooker Corey Flynn celebrated his full debut by crashing over for the third try in the left corner before Ralph secured the bonus point with a smart finish from close-in.

The wing might have grabbed his second after a chip-and-chase to the line, but when full-back Sila Va'enuku failed to gather the loose ball, Carlos Spencer touched down instead.

We went out with a positive attitude, but we didn't have the muscle
Tonga scrum-half Sililo Martens
The second half was 39 seconds old when Ralph sliced through a gaping hole on halfway to score the sixth try, his second.

Kees Meeuws then set a new world record for a prop with his ninth Test try, before Tonga conceded a penalty try under relentless pressure.

After Tonga's brief retort through Hola, Muliaina waltzed his way past six defenders and then won a race to MacDonald's kick ahead to extend his personal tournament try tally to six.

In between MacDonald also got on the scoresheet, while Howlett opened his account with two tries in the closing minutes.

New Zealand: M Muliaina; D Howlett, L MacDonald, D Carter, C Ralph; C Spencer, J Marshall; K Meeuws, C Flynn, G Somerville, B Thorn, A Williams, R Thorne (captain), D Braid, R So'oialo
Replacements: K Mealamu, D Hewett, J Collins, M Holah, R McCaw, M Nonu, B Atiga

Tonga: S Va'enuku; S Fonua, S Hufanga, J Payne, T Tu'ifua; P Hola, S Martens; K Pulu, V Ma'asi, H Lavaka; U Latu, V Vaki; S Afeaki , I Fenukitau, B Kivalu (captain)
Replacements: E Taukafa, T Lea'aetoa, M Ngauamo, D Palu, S Tu'ipolotu, G Leger

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