Full back Israel Dagg led the way with a double as New Zealand swept to a 37-17 victory in their Pool A clash with France at Eden Park.
Tries from number 8 Adam Thomson and wing Cory Jane put the All Blacks in control before Dagg struck either side of half-time. The French hit back through Maxime Mermoz and Francois Trinh-Duc before the Kiwis confirmed their superiority with a fifth try from Sonny Bill Williams.
Fly half Morgan Parra saw a drop kick crash off an upright after three minutes as France pinned the All Blacks back in the early stages.
But New Zealand weathered the storm and went ahead in the ninth minute when Thomson got on the end of a move inspired by a thrilling Ma’a Nonu burst and sidestep to touch down at the corner. Fly half Dan Carter missed the conversion.
Jane extended the lead after 17 minutes when he took a superb pass from Piri Weepu to scythe through the French rearguard for try No.2. This time Carter made no mistake with his kick.
Les Bleus were in disarray four minutes later when Dagg took Carter’s pass in acres of space and crossed under the posts to make it 17-0. Carter added the extras.
New Zealand replaced Jane with Williams after 34 minutes.
France got on the scoresheet with a penalty from Dimitri Yachvili as half-time approached.
Dagg scored his second try within a minute the restart after a sweeping move. Carter landed his third conversion of the evening to put the All Blacks 26-3 in front.
The fly half made it four kicks from five attempts when he sent over a long-range penalty.
France hit back when centre Mermoz intercepted a Carter pass to race home. Yachvili’s conversion took his side’s points tally into double figures.
But Carter banged another stunning drop goal through the posts to take him to 109 points for the tournament.
Replacement Trinh-Duc scored a second try for the French in the 75th minute only to see Willaims race through to dive over at the other end almost immediately.