Hosts New Zealand, 8/13 with bookmaker to win the tournament, got the World Cup off to an impressive start with a 41-10 thrashing of Tonga.
The All Blacks have not won the competition since it was first held in 1987, but are widely expected to be the team to beat this time, with Australia, 7/2, expected to be their main challengers.
Richie McCaw’s men did most of the hard work in the opening 40 minutes against Tonga, opening up a 29-3 lead before taking their foot off the pedal slightly after the interval.
McCaw said after the win: “It was a start, we had good patches, but in the second half we spent some time in their 22 and didn’t capitalise, which is something to work on.
“Our defence was good, although it was disappointing to let them score, but we had had to defend for a while. It’s a start and that’s all we can look at it as.”