Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 19 News List

All Blacks deliver rugby master class


New Zealand delivered another scintillating display of high-speed, running rugby with 13 tries in a horribly one-sided 91-7 win over Tonga in their World Cup pool D encounter yesterday.

Despite constant rain which made handling difficult, the All Black backs turned on the style in a match where they enjoyed more than 70 percent possession.

There were nine different scorers plus a penalty try while center Leon MacDonald was successful with 12 out of 12 conversion attempts, Carlos Spencer landing the other.

Left winger Caleb Ralph scored twice in a terrific performance full of pace and verve that will put the pressure on first choice Joe Rokocoko while fellow winger Doug Howlett and fullback Mils Muliaina also scored two tries.

The Tongans had promised a physical approach but, apart from one or two high hits early on, they simply ran out of steam trying to keep up with their vastly superior opponents.

New Zealand, who have already beaten Italy 70-7 and Canada 68-6, are the tournament's leading scorers and yesterday's win came with several first choice players out through injury,

Although the famed All Black backs did most of the eye-catching work it was a solid display by the pack, who were totally dominant in scrum and lineout, that earned them the time and space to display their high-speed skills.

The first try, after six minutes, was a pushover with flanker Daniel Braid at the bottom while the second went to centre Daniel Carter helped by textbook hand-offs.

Hooker Corey Flynn, playing his second international, popped up on the left wing to score the third, smashing through fullback Sila Va'enuku in the process. Ralph, who looked the sharpest of the lot on the night, threw a neat dummy to open the way for the fourth after more forward pressure.

Ralph then made up 15m on the overworked Va'enuku on a kick and chase, only for Spencer to get the final touch.

With McDonald converting four of the tries and Spencer a fifth the All Blacks were 35-0 ahead at the break.

Tongan replacement center Gus Leger came on for the second half and his first contribution was to hand the ball to Ralph who gratefully sprinted 40m to score.

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