Rugby World Cup: All Blacks far from underdone for likely quarter-final blockbuster against Ireland

The All Blacks will head into next weekend's World Cup quarter-final on the back of a third straight demolition, after their 73-0 rout of Uruguay in Lyon on Friday (NZ time).

Since their defeat in the opener against France, the New Zealanders have run in 36 tries, with their aggregate scoreline against Namibia, Italy and the South Americans totalling a mammoth 240-20.

Barring France being stunned by Italy on Friday and/or Scotland breaking their eight-game losing streak to upset Ireland on Sunday, the men from the Emerald Isle will await them in a colossal quarter-final in Paris next Sunday.

A thorn in the All Blacks' side with three wins in their past four against the Kiwis, Ireland will likely enter the game riding high on a 13-game win streak and battle-hardened by some highly physical encounters against Tonga and, most notably, their instant classic against the Springboks.

The path to the knockouts is in distinct contrast to the one the All Blacks have taken, where contests have often resembled Tuesday night touch rugby against an U13 team at Cox's Bay.

Damian McKenzie sets sail.
Damian McKenzie sets sail. Photo credit: Getty Images

But according to back Damian McKenzie, the All Blacks are entering the next phase of the competition well posed and with optimal levels of momentum.

"The last three games we've played, we've put some really good performances out on the park," said McKenzie after the match.  

"Like any team, it's been about focusing on each week and obviously we've had a really good performance tonight."

The All Blacks overcame a disjointed start in the face of some resolute play from the bullish Uruguayans to eventually find their pace – one their outclassed opposition couldn't match.

The passes began to stick and, in turn, the scoreline ballooned, as the men in black clicked into gear in a rampant 47-0 second half.

McKenzie was at the crux of that juggernaut, providing some trademark moments of brilliance in a two-try outing that richly deserved the player-of-the match award he was handed afterwards and should make him a lock to - at least - hold down a bench spot next weekend.

"We talked about getting this week right and we did that in the latter part of the first half and the second half," he explained.

"Obviously Uruguay were tough to get the roll on against, particularly in the first quarter. They forced us into errors through their defence.

"Pretty happy with the way the boys problem solved out there and responded. We managed to score some really good tries and it's obviously always good to hold a team to zero."

But McKenzie is well aware of the gargantuan green challenge that lies ahead – an opponent who will be far less forgiving and far more punitive of any opening lethargy.

"It's really important to set the tone and 90 percent of the time it's through your defensive efforts or how hard you carry the ball.

"We know once we get into quarter-final, the opportunities are slim... so we have to make sure we come out strong.

"Opportunities are going to be few and far between so for us this week, regardless of who we play we've got to make sure we prepare well and set ourselves up for a good weekend."