Sonny Bill Williams scored a try with his only touch on debut as the All Blacks Sevens joined the other big guns in cruising to an opening-round win at the world series tournament in Wellington.
Entering the game against Russia midway through the second half, cross-code star Williams didn’t touch the ball until the final 10 seconds, when he was put under the crossbar by playmaker Augustine Pulu.
It was the sixth try in a 38-7 rout, with Akira Ioane having used his power to bag a double.
Williams was a virtual spectator after entering the game with New Zealand leading 19-7, watching two tries get scored before welcoming the late gift from his former Chiefs teammate Pulu.
“I didn’t really get to do too much, I was just lucky that Auggy did all the pretty stuff,” Williams said.
Devoting himself to sevens in a bid to win selection for the Rio Olympics, Williams admitted to butterflies before kick-off.
“I was a little bit nervous but I think, more so, uptight. Hopefully I’ll build into the year and learn a bit.”
Early upsets were in short supply, as the tournament’s leading lights all flexed their muscles.
In New Zealand’s pool, South Africa looked ominous in dispatching Scotland 28-5.
World series defending champions Fiji thrashed Japan 45-7 after Argentina had pipped Wales 19-12 in pool B.
The best games were in pool C, where the United States clung on to beat Samoa 24-20 and England needed a try after the hooter to down France 17-14.
Australia avoided a shock opening loss in pool D, battling back from 12-0 down to beat Portugal 19-12, helped by a double to Henry Hutchison.
Pool rivals Kenya had no such difficulty beating Canada 31-7.