Milner-Skudder
Milner-Skudder on form as the All Blacks seal top spot.Getty

New Zealand sealed top spot of Pool C with victory over Tonga at St James' Park. After a slow first half, the defending champions clicked into gear with Nehe Milner-Skudder helping himself to two tries before Ma'a Nonu celebrated his 100th Test cap in style with one of his own to seal a 47-9 victory.

The All Blacks will take on either France or Ireland in their quarter final match.

Despite a bright start from Tonga, the All Blacks found their rhythm and opened up the opposition 10 minutes into the contest when Ben Smith, Milner-Skudder and Kieran Read combined down the left before freeing Conrad Smith to cross the line with ease before his namesake Ben Smith converted.

Kurt Morath pulled points back with an accurate penalty but New Zealand extended their lead at the half hour mark as prop Tony Woodcock forced his way over the line. With his side leading 14-3 just before half time, Ben Smith looked to have landed himself in trouble after appearing to take the legs of Telusa Veainu but escaped unpunished.

Read wasn't as lucky moments later however when he was sin binned for an illegal take down as Tonga powerfully fought to gain ground. Their impressive first half almost paid off with a deserved a try of their own just before half time only to to be denied after a review.

Tonga started the second half strongly and reduced the deficit when Morath converted again but the reigning champions found a way through their battling opposition again when Milner-Skudder skipped away from Vainikolo to cross the line before Carter converted to extend the lead to 21-6.

Despite their lead, New Zealand continued to look loose and undisciplined in the early stages of the second half, giving away their 10th penalty of the night which Morath coolly converted again.
On this occasion however the All Blacks responded impressively, with Beauden Barrett clipping a kick through for Milner-Skudder to get his second try of the night. With Tonga tiring, Bill Smith surged forward after collecting a fine pass from scrum half Aaron Smith.

Despite the nervous first half, New Zealand were now cruising at 35-9 and with Tonga tiring, they smelt blood and snatched another try through Sam Cane. Nonu brought the evening to a fitting end with a try of his own after a fine burst down the right.