Matt Manukia 08.Dec.2013Getty Images
Thrashing Portugal 43-0 in their opening match, Gordan Tietjens' men went on to topple the USA 43-7, with Gillies Kaka (23 points) and Sherwin Stowers each notching hat-tricks in front of almost 28,000 fans at the Port Elizabeth stadium.
Their biggest challenge came in the form of an enthusiastic Welsh side, who breached the New Zealand line at the death in the first half with a lengthy break from Samuel Cross.
However, Joe Webber (2) and Lote Raikabula added tries of their own after the half-time break to ensure the defending IRB World Series champions and World Cup holders finished pool play with a decisive 48-7 win.
New Zealand now prepare to face Kenya, who were thumped by the hosts in the final match of the day.
Having suffered their worst ever defeat, a 44-0 thumping, at the hands of Fiji in the semi-final at Dubai last week, New Zealand have been more clinical and play-maker Tomasi Cama praised his side for showing more urgency.
"He [Tietjens] put a lot of pressure on us to perform from the first game and it's good to see we're not dropping off like last week," Cama said.
"We were very disappointed with our performance, not only in the semi-final but our overall performance last week so we want to redeem ourselves this week."
Meanwhile, Argentina, Fiji, and South Africa were undefeated after the pool stages, while heavyweights Australia and England had their path to the Cup playoffs blocked by France and Samoa respectively.
Should New Zealand advance to the semi-finals, they will likely face the Fijians once again. Cama said the entire squad is relishing a potential rematch so soon but aren't looking too far ahead.
"We're going to rest up tonight. We've got the quarter-finals tomorrow and we can't look past that. It's going to be a tough one. If we get through that we may meet them in the semis, but we're really looking forward to each game."
NZ RESULTS DAY ONE:
New Zealand: 43 (Sherwin Stowers 2, Ambrose Curtis 2, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Gillies Kaka, Tamasi Cama tries; Tomasi Cama 3 cons, Lote Raikabula con) Portugal: 0
New Zealand: 43 (Gillies Kaka 3, Sherwin Stowers 3, Lote Raikabula tries; Gillies Kaka 4 cons) USA: 7 (Carlin Isles try; Folau Niua con)
New Zealand: 48 (Tomasi Cama 2, Joe Webber 2, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers tries; Tomasi Cama 4 cons) Wales: 7 (Samuel Cross try; Rhys Jones con)