Sonny Bill Williams dwarfed the Prime Minister yesterday as she greeted the All Blacks ahead of the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and first game last night.

Jacinda Ardern met the team at the Captain's Run at Tatsuminomori Seaside Park in Tokyo. She chatted to 1.94cm Williams as well as captain Kieran Read, along with his mother, Marilyn Read.

Jacinda Ardern and Kieran Read's mother Marilyn Read. Photo / Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern and Kieran Read's mother Marilyn Read. Photo / Getty Images

Later, at the opening ceremony, former All Black captain Richie McCaw, winner of the Cup in 2015, handed over the Webb Ellis Cup, placing it on a stand.

The ceremony was a colourful spectacular of lighting effects, drumming and dancing.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford meet Kieran Read. Photo / Getty Images
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford meet Kieran Read. Photo / Getty Images

The history of rugby in Japan was illustrated with a teepee representing Mount Fuji.

Groups of children circled around the depiction of the mountain bearing the flags of the countries playing in the competition.

The Japan v Russia game then kicked off.

Ardern and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold jerseys bearing their names after a joint press conference following a meeting at Abe's official residence. Photo / AB
Ardern and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold jerseys bearing their names after a joint press conference following a meeting at Abe's official residence. Photo / AB

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