Rugby World Cup 2003
New Zealand blow Tonga away
October 24, 2003
Greg Somerville slides in to score for New Zealand
© Getty Images
New Zealand laid another impressive World Cup marker with a thirteen-try 91-7 triumph over Tonga in Brisbane.
John Mitchell's side raced out of the starting blocks and had the try bonus point wrapped up in under half an hour as they looked to endorse their Cup credentials and went on to record the biggest win of the tournament so far at the Suncorp Stadium.
After crossing for five tries on the opening forty minutes, New Zealand devastated the Tongans in the second stanza scoring tries at will, despite the constant rain which began falling about five minutes into the half.
It was the third consecutive match the Kiwis have scored 10 or more tries, after massive wins over Italy and Canada in the opening two rounds of the tournament.
Leading 35-0 at half-time the All Blacks started the second half perfectly, with winger Caleb Ralph strolling over after forty seconds, before prop Kees Meeuws took the scoreline out to 47-0, barging over from close-range in the 46th minute.
The Tongans only joy for the came via an intercept try Sililo Martens in the 53rd minute, but it was little solace for the outclassed islanders.
A penalty try to the Kiwis and a yellow card to Tongan fullback Sila Va'enuku signalled the end of any resistance from the tiny island nation, with New Zealand running in five tries in the final 15 minutes to record the biggest win of the World Cup thus far.
It was a somewhat disappointing end for the massive crowd in attendance, which was brought to its feet before the ball had even been kicked off when the traditional All Black "Haka" was answered by the Tongans equally intimidating war dance, the "Ikela-Tahi".
However, while the Tongans may have matched the Kiwis' pre-game theatrics, as soon as the ball was in play it was one-way traffic for John Mitchell's men.
After a couple of early handling errors New Zealand settled, planting themselves in the Tongan 22-metre zone via some great kicking by Carlos Spencer and aggressive rucking by the forwards.
The pressure told on the Pacific Island nation, with flanker Daniel Braid opening the Kiwis account, forcing his way over from close range in the seventh minute.
All Black five-pointers came at regular intervals for the remainder of the half, with centre Daniel Carter next to score, crossing in the 15th minute. The talented speedster recollected a chip-kick by winger Doug Howlett and palmed-off three cover defenders before diving over underneath the black dot.
Hooker Corey Flynn barged his way over six minutes later, with Ralph and fly-half Carlos Spencer also crossing for tries before the half-time siren.
New Zealand: 91
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane