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New Zealand cruise past Tonga in World Cup opener

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New Zealand defeat Tonga 41-10 in the Rugby World Cup's opening match
  • Tries from Israel Dagg (2), Richard Kahui (2), Jerome Kainu and Ma'a Nanu secure win
  • There are matches in Pools A, B and D on Saturday

(CNN) -- Rugby World Cup hosts New Zealand made a perfect start to the tournament on Friday with a 41-10 victory over Tonga in Pool A.

The All Blacks dominated from the first whistle in Auckland, Dan Carter giving them an early lead with a penalty before Israel Dagg went over for the first try of the tournament after 11 minutes.

Graham Henry's side added another three tries before the half-time interval, with Richard Kahui adding two tries either side of another Dagg score to leave Tonga trailing 29-3 at the break.

The second half was a more even contest, Jerome Kainu adding a fourth try to ensure New Zealand picked up the bonus point before Tonga finally crossed the hosts' line through Sona Taumalolo after a spell of sustained pressure.

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New Zealand had the last word though, with Ma'a Nonu racing clear to touch down between the posts in the closing stages.

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Prior to the match Auckland staged a glittering opening ceremony as the 60,000 crowd at Eden Park watched hundreds of performers, including traditional Maori dancers, kick the festival of rugby into life.

An elaborate fireworks display showcased the city's harbor and skyline with thousands of people lining the streets to watch.

New Zealand's Prime Minister told the crowd the World Cup was the biggest event the country had ever hosted.

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Expectations of the All Blacks are high, with fans hoping the world's number one ranked side can win the Webb-Ellis trophy for the first time since the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

The result means New Zealand picked up a maximum five points from the clash, with France opening their campaign against Japan on Saturday in the next Pool A fixture.

There are three other matches on Saturday, with 2003 champions England taking on Argentina, the third place team from 2007, in Pool B.

The other match-up in that group pits Scotland against European minnows Romania. Pool D begins with a contest between Fiji and Namibia in Rotorua.