New Zealand recorded two wins from two in World Cup 2011 on Friday with a slick 83-7 victory over Japan, a result that saw them score thirteen tries.
It quickly turned into a procession in Waikato as Ma'a Nonu caused all kinds of problems for the Brave Blossoms, who had rested several of their first-choice players. New Zealand had done something similar during midweek while niggles for Richie McCaw and Dan Carter saw them pull out soon after being named in the starting XV.
What was worrying early on for the All Blacks was the kicking from hand and tee of Colin Slade - one could picture the scribes already sharpening their pens for the second-choice fly-half. However, a settling conversion on 31 minutes calmed the number ten and he went on to enjoy a try-scoring effort for a side that was always on the front-foot.
Nonu was the key to this victory though, with his ability to fix and beat a man always keeping Japan on the back foot. It seemed like visiting head coach John Kirwan had targetted the soon-to-be Blues man by loading two players onto him, but that proved futile as Nonu tore the opposition to shreds in setting up his team-mates.
Centre colleague Conrad Smith, who was in for the benched Sonny Bill Williams, opened the scoring on just four minutes when number eight Victor Vito, Nonu and full-back Isaia Toeava combined to send over the number thirteen. Slade was on-target with the conversion from close to the left touchline but then mis-judged a penalty attempt soon after.
New Zealand had definitely found their rhythm and it didn't take too long for them to cross again, with Richard Kahui ghosting over after good work from Toeava for his third try of the tournament so far. He would get his fourth later on. The score was 12-0 with the television camera showing John Kirwan trying to keep a brave face. Things would not improve though.
On the other end of the scale, there was some pleasant viewing for Graham Henry, who will have a fair few selection headaches to deal with ahead of facing France in Auckland.
Nonu has nailed his spot down and Henry would have been encouraged by how Williams played on the right wing, scoring two tries in his cameo. Israel Dagg meanwhile has to start.
Joining Williams, Smith and Kahui on the try-scoring chart was Jerome Kaino, Keven Mealamu, Andy Ellis, Slade, Toeava, Andrew Hore, Nonu and Adam Thomson. The All Blacks now have until next Saturday to recover before facing les Bleus in a Pool decider.
Man of the match: While it took him over an hour to cross the whitewash, Ma'a Nonu was at the hear of all things good for New Zealand. Both he and Isaia Toeava were regularly on hand with assists for team-mates but Nonu was the man who caused the most problems.
Moment of the match: We always knew the All Blacks would be the ones scoring the tries but when veteran wing Hirotoki Onozawa went over for Japan on 58 minutes, it led to one of the biggest cheers of the night.
Villain of the match: Played in a good spirit. Nothing dirty.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Smith, Kahui 2, Kaino, Mealamu, Ellis, Slade, SB Williams 2, Toeava, Hore, Nonu, Thomson
Con: Slade 9
New Zealand: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Anthony Boric, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.
Japan: 15 Taihei Ueda, 14 Takahisa Usuzuki, 13 Koji Taira, 12 Yuta Imamura, 11 Hirotoki Onozawa, 10 Murray Williams, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Takashi Kikutani (c), 7 Michael Leitch, 6 Itaru Taniguchi, 5 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 4 Hithoshi Ono, 3 Nozomu Fujita, 2 Yusuke Aoki, 1 Naoki Kawamata.
Replacements: 16 Hiroki Yuhara, 17 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 18 Yuji Kitagawa, 19 Sione Talikavili Vatuvei, 20 Tomoki Yoshida, 21 Shaun Webb, 22 Alisi Tupuailai.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Jérôme Garces (France)
Television match official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
By Adam Kyriacou