The returning Jahrome Hughes put on a show to help New Zealand book their quarter finals berth with a 48-10 win at Headingley.
Playing with their full strength spine for the first time in the tournament, the Kiwis eventually ran away with the game after somewhat of a slow start.
It would be the Irish side to take the lead on the back of a penalty goal from Ed Chamberlain to go up 2-0.
The returning Hughes would score the first try of the game, as he evaded several defenders with lovely steps, before diving over from close range.
Hughes then put on a beautifully weighted cross-field kick that saw Jordan Rapana in acres of space to score.
Hughes had the ball on a string as his next kick was a deft grubber that saw Peta Hiku win the race to the ball.
Irish winger Louis Senior continued his good form in the World Cup, intercepting an errant Kiwi pass and running 40m to score, giving Ireland some hope.
Hughes was at it again, this time with his legs. He darted through the line and found a storming Hiku to run away for his second try.
Just before the break, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sin-binned for a high tackle, a fairly dangerous one at that.
Despite being a man down, the Kiwis scored another before half-time.
An error by the Wolfhounds was picked by Hughes, he found Dylan Brown who made the break and Ronaldo Mulitalo on the wing had enough speed to finish the play.
An early shift down the right in the second half saw Rapana nab a second, as he just managed to keep his feet in the field of play.
James Fisher-Harris was the next to score, with the forward bullocking his way through some butter-like Irish defence to extend the lead.
Hughes would have his second on the back of yet another weaving run, as he planted the ball down and crashed into the post padding simultaneously.
Another nicely weighted kick should have been a simple catch for Ireland but it was dropped and Kenny Bromwich was quickest to pounce.
Senior would grab his second try when Mulitalo lost the ball in a tackle in the in-goal and the Irish winger was quickest to react to plant the ball down.
Joey Manu then put the icing on the cake as he sliced the Irish defence open to score.
Being his first World Cup, Jahrome Hughes was pleased to get the win but knows his side need to be better from now.
“It’s my first World Cup game ever so it’s good to get a win over a strong Ireland team and look forward to next week,” Hughes said.
We need to be better. We’re not too far from our best; a good strong week at training and we’ll be fine.”
Ireland coach Ged Corcoran laid into the Kiwis, believing if that is the best they have to offer, they may struggle against other sides.
“I’m really proud of the boys tonight, they dug in and challenged them” Corcoran said.
“If that’s the benchmark in New Zealand, then let’s see how they go in the rest of the tournament.”
New Zealand 48 (Rapana 2, Hiku 2, Hughes 2, Fisher-Harris, K. Bromwich, Manu, Mulitalo; G: Rapana 2, Brown 2) def. Ireland 10 (L. Senior 2; G: Chamberlain 1)
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Jahrome Hughes (NZ)
2. James Fisher-Harris (NZ)
1. Jordan Rapana (NZ)