The win, secured with nine tries — one of them a penalty try — means the reigning champion retains its unbeaten record in World Cup rugby stretching back to 2007.
Seven different players dotted down with replacement scrumhalf Brad Weber bagging a brace as he registered his first and second tries for his country.
Canada never really had a hope coming in to this match and the gulf in quality showed. The North Americans saw just 35 percent of the ball, ran a paltry 228 meters — compared to the 849 meters amassed by the Kiwis — and were asked to make 148 tackles. That they missed 45 of them speaks more to the power and guile of the All Blacks than the ineptitude of the Canadians.
The All Blacks opened the scoring on five minutes when referee Romain Poite awarded a penalty try following a series of reset scrums following New Zealand dominance.
Scores from Jordie Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams and Beauden Barrett followed as the bonus-point for scoring four tries was secured on 36 minutes.
Rieko Ioane, Scott Barrett and Shannon Frizell also touched down for the All Blacks in a rampant second half.
“They showed true Canadian grit,” Canada’s coach Kingsley Jones said after the game. “I admire the All Blacks’ accuracy, skill, speed. The bottom line is collisions. The speed and power that they can deliver at times it really causes big problems.”
Good, but not perfect
There could, and should, have been a fifth try just before the break but Scott Barrett — brother of Jordie and Beauden — dropped the ball having already crossed the line. The incident proved two things — that humid conditions in Japan will influence results as the tournament progresses and that the All Blacks are, indeed, human.
“It was difficult conditions,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said. “The humidity is unbelievable. People at home might be wondering why they’re dropping a few balls, but it is very difficult.”
The second half began in much the same way that the first half did and Ioane converted pressure in to points a minute after the restart. The powerful winger now has 24 tries from just 27 Tests.
Scott Barrett secured his face-saving try just three minutes later, though he needed a second grab of the ball to avoid further blushes, and Frizell was rewarded for his tireless work in the loose with a try of his own.
Then Weber got his double and set his sights on becoming the first New Zealand scrum half to score a hat trick in Test rugby.
As the game fizzled towards its conclusion, Canada saw more of the ball but ruthless New Zealand defence kept the door firmly shut as wave after wave of red attacks broke on a remorseless black wall.
Three minutes from full time the three Barrett brothers produced a moment of magic. Beauden received a flat pass and ran a space-opening angle towards his back line. He ignored the receivers to his right and instead dinked a deliciously delivered ball over the top. Jordie collected without breaking stride before drawing the tackler and offloading perfectly to Scott who offered an outlet on the inside. However, nothing came of the move save for slack jaws in the stands.
This is the first time the All Blacks have started a Test with three brothers in the lineup. Throughout the game they combined as if guided by one mind and Hansen must surely be tempted to let them loose as a triumvirate again.
They didn’t have it all their own way, however. Just like Scott in the first half, Beauden made a mess of holding on to the ball and contrived to drop it with nothing but clear air and the try line ahead late on — though he might be forgiven considering just how slippery things were out there.
“We were dripping wet as soon as we ran out at the start game,” captain Kieran Read said. “It was tough under the roof. But something to work on and to know we’ll get those conditions further on.”
The two Barrett knock-ons didn’t matter in the end. This win has sent a resounding warning to the rest of the tournament.