New Zealand 48-10 Ireland: Hughes dazzles as Kiwis stay perfect to win group

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Jahrome Hughes put on a show as New Zealand won Rugby League World Cup Group C by hammering Ireland 48-10 at Headingley on Friday.

Hughes scored two and set up three of the Kiwis' 10 tries as they ended the group stage with a perfect record and are expected to face Fiji at the quarter-final stage.

Slippery halfback Hughes, making his World Cup debut after recovering from a thigh strain, ghosted in for an opening solo try after Ed Chamberlain's penalty put Ireland in front and his pinpoint kick put one of a plate for Jordan Rapana.

Peta Hiku's quickfire double extended the Kiwis' advantage following a Louis Senior intercept try at the other end and Ronaldo Mulitalo's four-pointer made it 24-6 at half-time.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was perhaps lucky to avoid a red card for a high tackle on James Bentley late in that frantic first half.

New Zealand were not at their brilliant best, but Rapana and Hughes helped themselves to doubles, with James Fisher-Harris, Kenny Bromwich and Joseph Manu also crossing in the second half.

Senior pounced on a mistake to become the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with six as Ireland showed plenty of fight, but are on the brink of elimination with Lebanon poised to move into the last eight.