Rugby World Cup 2003
All Blacks punish Canada
October 17, 2003
Mils Muliaina dives in to score during a convincing win for the All Blacks
© Getty Images
New Zealand has maintained top spot in Pool D with a comfortable 68-6 victory over Canada at Melbourne's Telstra Dome on Friday night. While the All Blacks were made to work hard at times, they possessed too many weapons for a determined Canadian outfit to contain for the full 80 minutes.
The likes of Muliaina, So'oialo and Ma'a Nonu were able to put their extreme pace on display courtesy of a great game from Carlos Spencer. The trio combined for several breathtaking passages of play and were far too quick for the Canucks to cope with.
Spencer, without the added responsibility of goal-kicking duties, marshalled the team wonderfully well. The 28-year-old fly-half was the instigator of many attacks with a mixture of thoughtful passing and brilliant field-kicking.
The All Black defensive pressure also didn't allow Canada to mount many really threatening attacks. When the North Americans eventually turned the ball over, New Zealand took full advantage, breaking away with devastating speed into the open spaces.
New Zealand secured a bonus point before half-time and went into the break ahead 28-3. After coping admirably in the opening half, the Canadians were overrun after the break with New Zealand adding six more tries.
Caleb Ralph missed out on a try in the corner in the second minute of the second half, with the television referee judging he had gone out of bounds. It was an extremely narrow decision. Kiwi coach John Mitchell made six changes to the team that beat Italy last week and the formation took its time to come together, going 18 minutes before Caleb Ralph opened the scoring with a try after receiving a clever kick on the run from Spencer.
Mitchell's Canadian counterpart David Clark put out a virtually different side, keeping only centre Marco di Girolamo from the 10-41 loss to Wales. New Zealand next takes on Tonga at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium next Friday night. However, the Canadians have only a three-day break before meeting Italy at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday.
New Zealand 68
Crowd: 38,899 at Telstra Dome