All Blacks score 100 against Tonga as Will Jordan bags five tries
Looking to make a statement after managing only a 50 per cent win record last year, New Zealand ran in 16 tries against a team boasting fewer combined Test caps than All Blacks skipper Sam Whitelock alone.
Tonga, featuring 13 debutants in their matchday 23 after COVID-19 travel restrictions deprived them of their Europe-based players, were simply outgunned and outsmarted in a mismatch of a contest.
Beauden Barratt, back in the famous black shirt after a sabbatical in Japan, converted the final try after coming on as a replacement to equal the score in the mauling the Tongans suffered at Albany in 2000.
Jordan came up one short of the All Blacks record for most tries in one match, which was set by Marc Ellis in the 145-17 win over Japan at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.
“It was good to get out there,” said Whitelock, who was playing his 123rd Test.
“The Tongan team were here to play and it wasn’t easy out there.”
Fullback Damian McKenzie crossed for the first try in the second minute and, after Dalton Papalii had touched down and Will Jordan and Brad Weber had grabbed a brace of tries each, the All Blacks were 38-0 up in the 20th minute.
Tonga managed to stem the torrent of tries temporarily by abandoning the tactic of kicking away possession but flanker Papalii grabbed his second try in the 37th minute to give the home side a 43-0 lead at the break.
No.8t Luke Jacobson crossed soon after the restart with winger Jordan and scrumhalf Weber completing their hat-tricks before the 50th minute.
The Tongans, many fresh out of quarantine, started to tire and the All Blacks backs put on an exhibition with Richie Mo’unga crossing, Jordan adding his fourth and fifth tries and centre Rieko Ioane racing away to touch down.
Lock Patrick Tuipulotu burst through the defensive line to take the score into the 90s with three minutes remaining and winger George Bridge crossed on the overlap after the fulltime siren to take them to the century mark.
“We didn’t get the result tonight but I’m very proud of my brothers here,” said emotional Tonga captain Sonatane Takulua.
All Blacks 102 (Tries to Damian McKenzie, Dalton Papalii (2), Brad Weber (3), Will Jordan (5), Luke Jacobson, Richie Mo’unga, Rieko Ioane, Patrick Tuipulotu and George Bridge; 7 conversions to Mo’unga, 4 conversions to Beauden Barrett)
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now