Monday, 16 September, 2019

Bridge scores four tries as All Blacks thrash Tonga

All Black Joe Moody speaks to media ahead of this weekends match against Wales. 9 June 2016 Eastham-Farrelly
Shannon Reynolds | 10 September, 2019, 14:06

As the current World Champions, it would be expected that the All Blacks are in for a mega payday should they claim their third successive Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Forwards Codie Taylor, Kieran Read, Matt Todd and Ardie Savea also scored while Beauden Barrett kicked seven conversions and Josh Ioane four.

New Zealand also took eight minutes to score its first try through winger Sevu Reece, and the floodgates opened as Tonga barely touched the ball as it played into a stiff breeze in the first half.

The second half started with Bridge catching the ball from the restart and crossing after just nine seconds in a forgettable moment for Tonga.

Tonga's problems compounded further when Sam Lousi was sin-binned in the 61st minute for an illegal tackle on Ioane and Crotty immediately capitalised on the numerical advantage with his second in the 65t minute.

The Springboks trail only Ireland, New Zealand and England in the rankings.

Robinson says World Rugby, the game's global governing body, needs to do more for tier two nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga who struggle to field their top teams, as players are often under pressure from their European clubs not to play for the countries.

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"We're exactly where we want to be", Hansen said, adding that completing the match injury free was an added bonus two weeks before their opening World Cup match in Japan against South Africa.

Ireland, meanwhile, is the world's number one rugby team for the first time since the introduction of the rankings in 2003.

"Clearly, you know it's your last game, but are we dwelling on that?"

The All Blacks' forwards were dominant at breakdowns, giving their team an nearly constant supply of possession.

New Zealand scored nearly at will from set pieces - the best example coming when Crotty went over the line as first receiver from an attacking scrum - and from turnovers. Smith scored both of his tries from long range after breakdown turnovers. He fully recovered his confidence Saturday with his double and as by playing a key lead-up role in several tries.

Tonga took fifth place in the Pacific Nations Cup earlier this summer, besting Canada 33-23 for their lone victory.

"A loss like this is hard for the boys to take", Piutau said.

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