New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams against Tonga in the Rugby World Cup pool match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams against Tonga in the Rugby World Cup pool match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, September 09, 2011. Credit:SNPA / Ross Setford

The New Zealand All Blacks have started their 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign in style, easily claiming victory over Tonga 41 to 10 in the first match of the tournament at Eden Park, Auckland this evening.

Dan Carter opened the scoring with a converted penalty in the fourth minute of the match, opening the flooding gates for an early All Blacks assault.

Israel Dagg followed up with the first try of the tournament in the 11th minute, after good work from Carter, Sonny Bill Williams and Ma’a Nonu.

After much discussion regarding his future and role within the All Blacks, Williams impressed in the match, involved in a number of the All Blacks attacks throughout the match, including some impressive offloads.

But it was far from the demolishing All Blacks display many had predicted from the home side in the tournament opener.

Tonga got on the scoreboard just before half-time thanks to a converted penalty from fly-half Kurt Morath, in a spirited display from the minnows in front of a big Kiwi crowd

The Tongans, ranked 12th in the IRB rankings, managed to ease the All Black tide in the second half, with replacement prop Sona Taumalolo going over in the 72nd minute – their first try of the match.

But the All Blacks never looked threatened. Showing glimpses of the flare we have come to expect from the Kiwis, Nonu added the final try in the 76th minute from yet another Williams offload to seal the match.

The match thus ended 41-10; a comfortable victory for the All Blacks, albeit unconvincing given the lofty expectations they headed into the tournament with. But they are nevertheless on the board.

The All Blacks next face Japan at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on Friday September 16, while Tonga meets Canada at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei on Wednesday September 14.

View our live blog of the matchAll Blacks v Tonga

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The Crowd Says (51)

  • September 9th 2011 @ 8:37pm
    Sylvester said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

    Indifferent performance from ABs, but the opening game hype may have played some part. They’ll be disappointed with the handling and penalties conceded
    I think we’ve found at least two of the back three, and Cowan probably played himself out of the A team.

    Tonga played very well in the second half. Pick-and-go was an ideal tactic.

    Refs really need to crack down on this “injury” time wasting. The spectators deserve better.
    Clancy tried to speed the Tongans up, but still indulged them way too much.

  • September 9th 2011 @ 8:41pm
    ohtani's jacket said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

    There will be a lot made of that second half, but I was glad to see Tonga give us a game even if it meant they outplayed us for much of the second 40. There’s more to be learnt from big Tongan defence and the All Blacks being forced to defend on their own goal line than the backs running amok for 40 minutes. I’m sure there will be disappointment over the lack of possession, but the game sort of took place in reverse with the Tongans getting better as the game went along. A fair few positives came out of it for the All Blacks. I was completely wrong about Kahui. The guy is a tremendous footballer. He was the stand out as far as the All Blacks were concerned and that’s something for the coaches to take forward.

    • September 9th 2011 @ 8:52pm
      RichT said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

      I’m glad you came to your senses OJ. I’ve always liked Kahui for his level-headedness everytime he’s played on the wing for the ABs. He is my choice as one of the wingers in the first XV.

      • September 10th 2011 @ 11:36am
        Tonto said | September 10th 2011 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        I agree, what a game by Kahui, he like Jane just always looks composed in the Black jersey. Get Kahui to play Japan game, probably off bench with Guildford starting, this will be Guildfords last chance and will need to play a blinder.
        I think Kahui also has the better of Toeava in last two games.
        Toeava did well and would be a fine pick if not for Kahui breathing down his neck. He had two poor choices to finish. One off SBW grubber when he went in-field and the disallowed try, carrying ball in wrong hand. This is was actually a fundamental error which is partially fault of playing him on his wrong side.
        So all in all I feel Kahui should be in the starting 15 based on Guildfords next performance.

    • September 9th 2011 @ 11:48pm
      mother teresa said | September 9th 2011 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

      OJ FAIR ENOUGH ABOUT KAHUI TONITE;i also may be guilty of judging him with his injuries and mooloos,but tonga mate arent as good as abs made them look.
      the abs set pieces and combos were not up to scratch;and mccaw,ali,hbs all overrated and dubious futures.
      carters penchant for silly mistakes speaks of organisation,combos?god forbid confidence ,whatever, but deans must be licking his lips.
      this game like previous two losses gave us nothing to suggest this team is settled and coming together.where is the vigour and vitality in the forwards.what does that clown ALI actually achieve except pathetic handbags and penalties.
      ;surely henry can see past this transparency.
      so OJ cant rest my hat on kahuis surprise form in one game i think we should be a tad more ingenuous regarding the forwards REVERSE half agst tongans and check the lack of confluency in this team.this was a continuance of previous two games where the abs failed to win agst better opponents and couldnt dominate again tonite.

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2011 @ 9:19am
        AdamS said | September 10th 2011 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        How can the team look settled when he keeps changing it?
        You’re right,a wry grin is slowly creeping up on Deans’ face and Henry is juggling his way into an NZ nightmare.

  • September 9th 2011 @ 8:45pm
    Capital said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

    I would say that the match was lacklustre performance from both sides.
    The Tongans were pretty average in the first half, ABs were dominant against a badly misfiring side; then the second half the ABs lost momentum.
    A few combinations were lacking – but the back 3 looked pretty soldi, with good feeds from SBW and Nonu.
    A start, a result – but lacking conviction.
    A subdued performance from both sides.

  • September 9th 2011 @ 8:46pm
    Johnno said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

    After tonights match i am now convinced only 5 teams can win the world cup the big 5.
    And the wallabies would now beat samoa by 15 points now if they play in RWC finals stage.
    Would love to see the pacific islands rule, if the IRB let players of pacific island heritage if they don’t make the AB’S or Wallabies, plain RWC would make island teams more competitive.
    And tonga had a bad warm up there now saying on tv now because of opening ceremony.
    But tonight was agood effort by the NZ C TEAM, Samoa is the other ALL BLACK C TEAM(TONGA,SAMOA).
    So many Tongans, and samoan players have played or been born in NZ. Tonnes of super 15 experience.
    And also in the 1st half the ALL BLACKS were made to look better than what they were by Tonga. Same when they beat south africa B. Was a different story against south africa, and wallabies at suncorp.

    • September 9th 2011 @ 11:16pm
      Warren said | September 9th 2011 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

      Mate, if you can’t take the time to even attempt to write coherently, don’t bother posting. Most people here make an effort because we respect our fellow posters. Rambling posts that are are so poorly written they are difficult to follow are , in my opinion, disrespectful. If you think your views are worth airing then please take the time to articulate them in an intelligible manner.

      • September 9th 2011 @ 11:42pm
        Johnno said | September 9th 2011 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

        Warren how is my views here poorly written. And how is my post a ramble, it is short clear and to the point mate. And yes i do think my views are worth airing my points, are true, simply look at the backgrounds of many of the Samoan and Tongan players, and there strong links to Aus and NZ rugby. The coach Isatola Mika is Tongan, and a former ALL Black. Jonah Lomu is of Tongan heritage .
        Look at the tongan born or players of tongan heritage who were either born in Tonga, Australia, or NZ in the current Australian Wallaby squad.
        Wycliff Palu, TPN, KEPU, Timani born in Tonga playing for Australia now but not in RWC squad, MAFU, Digby ioane is born in NZ samoan heritage, Quade cooper has a polynisean heritage to and is born in NZ. ANd Will Genia is born in PNG. And many of these players are not playing for Samoa,Tonga, PNG, or Fiji because they mad the Australian team Warren. And same goes for Tuilagi playing for England not Samoa, or Sivivatu or Rococko playing for NZ in the past.
        It is you Warren who is not informed enough on the amount of pacific islanders who play for the big teams when they are also eligible to represent the pacific Island nations.
        So how is what i am saying not intelligent.
        And yes it is true i think Australia would now beat Samoa in the RWC we have improved that much, and yes the ALL Blacks were made to look better than what they actually are in the 1st half that is a fact, they did not play that fluidly against Australia in bRISBANE THIS YEAR, OR against soUTH africa in South Africa this year Warren, . I don’t sugar coat things Warren which you clearly do when expressing opinions, i give honest opinions that i think are true and not be a follower or diplomatic for the sake of being diplomatic Warren, I give honest individual opines mine how i see sport, and if you have a problem with that then that is simply not my problem mate. And you obviously thought higher of the Tongan nation rugby union team than i did tonight. Decent side but not a World cup contender unlike the big 5(Aust,NZ,ENG,FRANCE,SOUTH AFRICA).

        • September 10th 2011 @ 6:15am
          Mungehead said | September 10th 2011 @ 6:15am | ! Report

          Since you ask, it’s not intelligent because we’re all tired of those that perpetuate the stereotype of the All Blacks being founded on pacific island talent while blatantly ignoring the number of NZ-born players playing for pacific island teams. But hey, it’s your choice, do the math or continue to ignorantly describe Tonga and Samoa as the NZ C TEAM, in caps, like that means something.

        • September 10th 2011 @ 7:01am
          Jerry said | September 10th 2011 @ 7:01am | ! Report

          “Quade cooper has a polynisean heritage”

          It’s true – Maori is indeed classed as Polynesian and it’s shameful that Australia has robbed a tiny Island nation such as NZ of its indigenous talent.

          • September 10th 2011 @ 10:25am
            Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | September 10th 2011 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            “And tonga had a bad warm up there now saying on tv now because of opening ceremony.” That’s interesting to read.

            During the opening ceremony I was wondering ‘what would Tonga & the AB’s be doing right now’? Would they have been at the grounds in the sheds or would they still be elsewhere waiting to arrive and try to keep things as normal as posible.

            In reality part of the coach’s & manager’s job is to get the best out of their teams by ensuring that everything is done as normal as possible within routines and players don’t get too caught up in the emotions of the whole thing and blow it before running out onto the park.

            But it must have been especially difficult for Tonga in that there are no ‘usual’ ways of preparing when you’re a team that is scattered aroundthe globe and you only comes together for the big events.

            I saw TV footage of the Tongan team arrive at Auckland airport and they seemed blown away by the amazing reception that they received from the Tongan fans. So they have been on an emotional roller coaster for a few days.

  • September 9th 2011 @ 8:48pm
    ny ben said | September 9th 2011 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

    Thought the AB backs all looked pretty good. Interesting to see the scrum without Woodcock and Thorn. I think the French will have taken notice.

    I like SBW and Nonu as centers and Dagg at 15.

    • September 10th 2011 @ 2:14am
      Indifferent performance said | September 10th 2011 @ 2:14am | ! Report

      oh god, wait for KPM to get all over SBW being the greatest footballer in the world now.

      SBW had a good game yes, but it was Tonga and Smith-Nonu will surely still be the preferred option. However, if Weepu is considered good enough to cover first five then i like the idea of having SBW on the bench for potential impact or too attempt to break open a game if trailing.

  • September 9th 2011 @ 9:01pm
    RichT said | September 9th 2011 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

    I think the ABs will be glad to get that one out of the way. Not a totally convincing win and Tonga did well in the second half. I think the ABs definitely held back once they knew the game was never in danger but there would be just a bit of concern to let Tonga get that try and that 5 minute stretch where they pressured the scrum. Tackling by the ABs in the second half lacked aggression apart from Kaino and Tonga made easy metres, which suggests that maybe the ABs were holding back.

    Backs were good especially Kahui and SBW, Dagg. In fact, the guys who knew they had to step up. Nonu was definitely saving himself for the bigger games and fair enough. He still performed efficiently.

    • September 9th 2011 @ 9:50pm
      p.Tah said | September 9th 2011 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

      SBW good?

      • September 9th 2011 @ 10:01pm
        ohtani's jacket said | September 9th 2011 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

        SBW had a decent game. A few mistakes, but some great plays. He definitely makes it easier for outside backs to score.

        • September 9th 2011 @ 10:08pm
          ohtani's jacket said | September 9th 2011 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

          Having said that, I think Nonu made life much easier for him by putting in a solid performance out of position.

          • September 10th 2011 @ 1:43am
            Ben S said | September 10th 2011 @ 1:43am | ! Report

            I thought Nonu threw out some bad passes and crabbed a little, tbh.

            • September 10th 2011 @ 8:05am
              ohtani's jacket said | September 10th 2011 @ 8:05am | ! Report

              Nonu was influential in many of the tries. I actually thought his passing game was fantastic.

            • September 11th 2011 @ 8:36am
              Ben S said | September 11th 2011 @ 8:36am | ! Report

              Sure he was influential, but I think that was more to do with the Tongan defence rather than Nonu’s mastery of the the 13 channel, tbh.

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