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All Blacks outclass Tonga in Rugby World Cup dress rehearsal. SKY SPORT
The All Blacks have signed off for the Rugby World Cup in stunning fashion, running riot in a 92-7 victory in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon.
In a fixture fitted in to bridge the gap between New Zealand’s last Bledisloe Cup hitout and their important opening pool game against South Africa in a fortnight, the legs were well and truly stretched by the home side, thanks to the plethora of long-range tries cantered in for.
In all, there were 14 of them, with George Bridge collecting four, as he made a very good fist of keeping the left-wing berth made vacant by an out-of-touch, and now slightly injured Rieko Ioane.
There also doubles to Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty – the former back in his accustomed home of fullback, and the latter at second-five on return at from a broken thumb, as the men in black were in rampant mood, and even subbed off Crotty with quarter of an hour remaining in order to practice for a 14-man situation in the weeks ahead.
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The crowd of 23, 443 at FMG Stadium Waikato featured just patches of red, and the black wave were treated to a near-history-making effort by the hosts, who just fell short of eclipsing their 102-0 effort against the Tongans on the North Shore in 2000.
In the end, the stats made for ugly reading – the running metres 1,101 to 255, clean breaks 24-4, defenders beaten 35-9 and the Tongans tackling at 65 per cent
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