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New Zealand beats Tonga 92-7

The Associated Press

New Zealand’s George Bridge is airborne as he dives across the line to score a try against Tonga during their rugby test match in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Saturday.

The Associated Press HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — Winger George Bridge scored four tries while fullback Ben Smith and center Ryan Crotty bagged doubles as New Zealand overwhelmed Tonga 92-7 Saturday in its last match before defending its Rugby World Cup title in Japan.

Bridge’s first try was among eight scored by the All Blacks in the first half, after which they led 54-0, and he added three more in the second half as New Zealand brought its tally for the match to 14.

Smith scored both of his tries in the first half, playing his way back into form with perfect timing ahead of New Zealand’s World Cup opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Sept. 21.

Beauden Barrett kicked seven conversions, playing only the first half, and Josh Ioane added four on debut after taking over the goal kicking in the second half. New Zealand still fell short of its record winning margin against Tonga: 102-0 in 2000.

Tonga, ranked 15, showed an indomitable spirit by scoring the last of the match through captain Siale Piutau and holding top-ranked New Zealand scoreless for the last 15 minutes.

New Zealand also took eight minutes to score its first try through winger Sevu Reece, and the floodgates opened as Tonga barely touched the ball as it played into a stiff breeze in the first half.

Bridge recorded his second try by catching the kickoff that started the second half and running in almost unopposed as the scorline mounted relentlessly.

Hooker Codie Taylor, scrumhalf T.J. Perenara, and back rowers Matt Todd, Ardie Savea and captain Kieran Read also scored before the All Blacks’ attack fizzled toward the end of the match.Speech

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