New Zealand over-ran a French team short on vision, possession and verve to claim a comfortable win in their Rugby World Cup pool match in Auckland on Saturday.
It was a worthy celebration not only of McCaw's 100th appearance, a match in which he typically led the way with some stirring charges into the French defence, but also of the 50th match between the two countries - New Zealand extending their wins to 37.
McCaw spent much of the game as a No.8 which allowed flanker Adam Thomson to perform in the openside flanker role.
The French experiment of playing scrum-half Morgan Parra at fly-half foundered on his inability to take the ball to the line, leaving France to be persistently caught behind the advantage line.
Incorrect throwing at the lineout, re-starts that didn't go 10m and several dropped balls made it an unimpressive display from the French.
Aided by a clever display from fly-half Dan Carter, who kicked 12 points, and a powerful first-half especially from Ma'a Nonu at inside-centre, there was too much class for the disappointing French side.
New Zealand withstood some early attacking sorties from France but once winning their own throw to a lineout, the opportunities came.
A long throw was tidied by New Zealand and after an initial dab around the ruck by halfback Piri Weepu the ball was moved to Nonu. He took a big gap, side-stepped through another and then raced toward the goal-line.
While tackled, the ball was quickly cleared and quick hands from Carter saw Thomson score in the corner in the ninth minute.
Seven minutes later, a clean take at the back of the lineout by Sam Whitelock, one of several sound takes in a fine display, resulted in a delayed inside pass from Weepu to blindside wing Corey Jane. He sliced through a huge gap and then beat Maxime Medard with a change of pace to score.
In the 20th minute another ruck created after a Nonu burst and it was Carter who slid through with ease and with only centre Aurelien Rougerie in defence, he offloaded to the supporting Dagg for the try.
New Zealand, after absorbing the early French assault, had moved the score to 19-0.
France opened their scoring two minutes from half-time when Dimitri Yachvili landed a penalty goal after Jerome Kaino was penalised.
France made three changes at the break but it made little difference as Williams charged onto a ball, made room for an offload to Carter and he then found Kahui in support.
The ball was moved left where McCaw set up another ruck and it was Dagg who broke through to score.
In the 54th minute inside-centre Mermoz intercepted to race 35m to score.
Carter took the chance to hone his drop goal kicking to land a 63rd minute goal.
After a series of scrums on the line a quick penalty saw replacement back Francois Trinh-Duc catch the New Zealanders napping to score.
The lesson was quickly heeded as from the re-start, replacement lock Ali Williams grabbed the kick, charged into space fed replacement wing Colin Slade.
A ruck was formed and the ball moved back across field where Sonny Bill Williams scored in the opposite corner.
Dan Carter is the third Kiwi to reach 100 RWC points, he now has 109, 54 short of Andrew Mehrtens and 61 shy of Grant Fox.
New Zealand are now unbeaten in 25 matches at Eden Park, a run dating back to 1994, when they lost to France.
France missed 18 tackles in the game, giving them a tackle success rate of just 83%.
The Kiwis scored five tries against France for the 11th time in the 50 times the two nations have met.
New Zealand have scored 78 tries in their last nine RWC matches, an average of 8.7 per game.