OITA, Japan (Reuters) - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s plan to win their third successive World Cup has started to bear fruit with a scintillating spell of precision rugby at pace when they scored 28 points in 10 minutes against Canada on Wednesday.
The All Blacks, who had led 28-0 at halftime, blasted the North Americans off the Oita Stadium pitch in the 10 minutes after the break when they scored four converted tries on the way to a 63-0 bonus-point victory.
Such was the level of skill execution as backs and forwards created space through clever passing and running lines as Rieko Ioane, Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizell and Brad Weber all scored, there were signs that a 100-point victory was on the cards.
“After halftime we played well, good controlled footy and played with speed but also didn’t look for silly offloads,” Hansen told reporters after the nine-try demolition that moved them to nine points in Pool B.
“We played with control and with speed which is what we were after (and) we have come away with some confidence that what we’re trying to do is starting to grow and build.
“We’ve just got to put that first 20 minutes in the second half and turn that into 80 minutes and if we can do that then we won’t be too far away.”
Canada coach Kingsley Jones was also impressed with the way in which the All Blacks were able to just flick a switch and play at a level that his side could not match despite their best efforts.
“The basic facts are the speed, the accuracy and the power that the All Blacks could generate, sometimes you (just have to) admire,” Jones said. “Some of their execution was incredible.
“They’re a fantastic team and it’s a great a test for our players. They were outstanding.”
While overall pleased with the performance, Hansen was also happy that several of his players like prop Atu Moli, who played the full 80 minutes, and centres Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue had got some solid game time under their belts.
Williams was especially influential, creating havoc in the Canadian defence while a clever kick set up Beauden Barrett’s try and he provided the final pass for Ioane to score.
“He played really well tonight, he’s got a kicking game, I think he’s done that kick about four times and we’ve scored four times from it,” Hansen said.
“He’s been working hard, and he’s injury free and we’re starting to see the old Sonny.”
The All Blacks face Namibia in Tokyo on Sunday before finishing the pool phase against Italy in Toyota City on Oct. 12.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Christian Radnedge