New Zealand's All Blacks set the bar high at the Rugby World Cup on Friday after thrashing Japan 83-7 to score a perfect 10 points after two matches as the tournament entered its second weekend.
AP - New Zealand became the first team to collect a perfect 10 points after two matches to raise the bar at the Rugby World Cup, yet it was England center Mike Tindall’s behavior at a Queenstown bar that dominated attention Friday.
The All Blacks scored 13 tries through 11 different players to thrash Japan 83-7 at Waikato Stadium and stay atop Pool A following their victory over Tonga in the tournament opener last week.
The Japanese had been looking for vengeance after conceding the most points in any World Cup match when thrashed 145-17 by New Zealand in 1995, and their second-string team did well to limit the score to 17-0 by the 30th minute. But then the tournament favorites ran riot.
Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams scored two tries apiece, while Colin Slade totaled 23 points in the only match scheduled on Friday.
“He certainly made a statement when he came on,” All Blacks coach Graham Henry said of Williams. “He had a positive performance, scored a couple of tries. I thought Jerome Kaino had a big game. Richard Kahui played well again on that left wing.
“A lot of players played better than they did last week. The opposition wasn’t quite as good physically, obviously, but they had better structure than the Tongans. So they played quite well, I thought, the Japanese. But they probably lacked a bit of physicality at the tackle area.”
On the sidelines of the Cup, Tindall’s now infamous night out in Queenstown earlier this week received even greater exposure after security camera footage of the England rugby star’s interaction with a woman in a bar was temporarily made available online at a video-hosting website.
The grainy footage showed Tindall talking with the woman, briefly holding her hand and receiving a kiss on top of his bald head.
Tindall has been subject to extra attention at the World Cup because he married Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, last month.
Despite being rested by England to face Georgia on Sunday, Tindall was the subject of 15 of the first 20 questions from the media at the team announcement Friday.
The British media reported that Tindall misbehaved on the night out with teammates, but team manager Martin Johnson defended his players’ conduct.
“If there’s a complaint and someone says ‘one of your players acted inappropriately,’ we would act upon it,” Johnson said. “The manager of the bar has said the England players’ behavior was perfectly acceptable all evening. It’s just the way it’s been reported.”
New Zealand’s win over Japan kicked off a weekend featuring seven matches.
On Saturday, Australia plays Ireland in Auckland, Argentina takes on Romania in Invercargill and South Africa meets Fiji in Wellington.
Pool C rivals Australia and United States are both in danger of losing their first-choice openside flankers. The Wallabies’ David Pocock sat out training because of an injured back one day before the critical clash against Ireland, while the American Eagles’ Todd Clever was cited for a dangerous tackle in his team’s 13-6 win over Russia on Thursday and will face a judicial hearing in Auckland at a date yet to be set.
Six countries announced their team selections for the second round of pool matches, with Canada and Wales retaining unchanged starting lineups. The Canadians will play France in Pool A on Sunday only four days after beating Tonga, while the Welsh take on Samoa on the same day in a match likely to decide which team finishes second in Pool D. England, Italy, Georgia and Samoa also announced their lineups.
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