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Friday, September 09, 2011

All Blacks beat Tonga in opening match of Rugby World Cup 2011

The Rugby World Cup 2011 kicked off in New Zealand with a fantastic opening ceremony, followed by the host nation beating a determined Tonga 41-10 at Eden Park in Auckland. Fullback Israel Dagg scored the opening try of the tournament.

The All Blacks came out looking slick as their talented backs turned it on, scoring fantastic tries as they ran circles around the hapless Tongans in the first half. The second wasn't quite as good, as Tonga came back into the game with a pick and drive tactic that kept possesion away from the home side.

Israel Dagg and Richard Kahui ended up with two tries a piece though, while Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu scored in the second half. Nonu and center partner Sonny Bill Williams were lethal, Williams in particular, as he offloaded in the tackle with ease, pulling off some incredible passes.

Tonga did score a try of their own however as Alisona Taumalolo went over after a period of sustained pressure resulted in a well taken, and well deserved, try for the big front rower.

While the performance of the All Blacks in the first half will have sent a message to the rest of their opposition, and put coach Graham Henry in a tight position when it comes to future selections, their second half showing was perhaps a little warning sign. They did take the foot off the gas, but they'll soon face tighter challenges and need to be able to adapt their game, and learn how to win ugly.

All in all it was a great win however, and a brilliant display of the kind of ability that exists within the squad, with whoever gets selected showing that they're capable of stepping up and turning things on when needed.

You can watch official highlights on the Rugby World Cup website now.

What were your thoughts on the match?

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