Day 13 at the Rugby World Cup: New Zealand fire warning to rivals
Holders New Zealand enjoyed the biggest win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a 63-0 victory over Canada.
France had earlier laboured to a 33-9 victory over the United States to move within a point of Pool C leaders England.
Here, the PA news agency wraps up all the action at the halfway point of the group stage and takes a look at Thursday’s action.
Ruthless All Blacks send out warning
New Zealand easily maintained their record of having never lost a World Cup pool match by thumping Canada in Oita.
The All Blacks ran in eight tries and were awarded a penalty try against out-classed Canada, as full-back Beauden Barrett, centre Sonny Bill Williams and fly-half Richie Mo’unga cut through at will.
It was Steve Hansen’s 90th win as All Blacks coach, with four draws and nine defeats making up his 103-game record.
New Zealand have a four-day turnaround before their next game against Namibia.
France fail to impress
France squeaked past Argentina in their opening game and Les Bleus were again unimpressive in overcoming the United States.
Three late tries spared French blushes and secured a bonus-point to keep the pressure on England ahead of their likely pool-decider on October 12.
France were in trouble when the Eagles’ third penalty trimmed their lead to 12-9 on 64 minutes.
But three converted tries in the last 14 minutes helped them to a flattering 33-9 victory.
Eagles do not pass go
The United States are still looking for a major scalp at Rugby World Cups.
The Eagles frustrated France to the extent that they were only trailing by three points with 14 minutes remaining.
But the US could not add a famous victory to their previous World Cup wins over Japan (twice) and Russia.
There was, however, a niche World Cup fact when fly-half Will Magie came on as a late Eagles replacement… as his great great aunt Lizzie invented monopoly!
Replacement scrum-half Brad Webber scored the pick of the All Blacks’ nine tries.
Beauden Barrett broke clear after Richie Mo’unga showed deft hands to take a high ball at the second attempt and find a team-mate while off balance.
Webber was on Barrett’s shoulder to take his pass and sprint the final 30 metres.
Beauden, Jordie and Scott Barrett became the first trio of brothers to appear for New Zealand at a World Cup.
And the Barrett boys marked the occasion by each scoring a try – becoming the first trio of brothers to do so in a World Cup match.
Coming up next
Ireland v Russia (Pool A, Kobe)
Ireland overwhelmed Scotland in their tournament opener but must bounce back after losing 19-12 to tournament hosts Japan.
“You can look at the last three World Cups,” said Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell.
“South Africa lost to Japan and lost the semi-final (to New Zealand) 20-18. You look at 2011 – France looked in disarray and there’s a debate about whether they should have won the final.
“They (setbacks) are not ideal, but if you use them to your advantage they can be powerful.”
Russia lost their opening two games to Japan and Samoa.
Georgia v Fiji (Pool D, Higashiosaka)
Fiji are seeking some World Cup solace after their embarrassing 30-27 defeat to Uruguay.
“They were disappointed and then they put that behind them,” Fiji coach John McKee said.
“They don’t need coaches or management to tell them, in terms of their mindset, what they need.”
Georgia overcame Uruguay 33-7 after losing their opening game to Wales.