New Zealand 41-10 Tonga, Rugby World Cup, September 9
McCaw satisfied with patchy performance
September 9, 2011
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams was at his brilliant best in the first half in Auckland © Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw freely admitted that his side had not been at their best in their World Cup opener against Tonga but he was just pleased that they had managed to get their campaign underway with a win.
The Kiwis played some wonderful attacking rugby during the first half in Auckland, with Israel Dagg and Richard Kahui both crossing twice as they reached the interval 29-3 ahead, Tonga's sole score a penalty from fly-half Kurt Morath.
However, while they managed further scores from Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu in the second period, the hosts proved far less convincing and Tonga proved far more competitive, registering a deserved try through replacement prop Sona Taumalolo. Still, McCaw felt that, as far as the All Blacks were concerned, the game was really just about getting some points on the board.
The flanker told ITV1: "It was a start, we had good patches, but in the second half we spent some time in their 22 but didn't capitalise, which is something to work on. Our defence was good, although it was disappointing to let them score, but we had had to defend for a while. But it's a start and that's all we can look at it as."
McCaw was disappointed that the All Blacks had failed to build on the good work that they had done in the opening 40 minutes but insisted that he was satisfied by his side's overall performance.
"It can happen when you are a few points up that you can expect things to happen when you make breaks instead of being ruthless. But we created opportunities and for the most part I thought it was good stuff," he said.
"We are excited about getting under way, it's been a long time coming and to play in front of a crowd like this is pretty cool."
As for Tonga, while his side had come out on the wrong side of a 41-10 scoreline, Tonga boss Isitolo Maka was pleased with the outcome.
"To score 10 points against the All Blacks, I'm very happy with that," he said. "I'm happy they scored only 41 points."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.