A full review of New Zealand's big win over Namibia at the Olympic Stadium
New Zealand ran in nine tries, wingers Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea both scoring a brace, as they comfortably saw of Namibia in their World Cup game at the Olympic Stadium. They wrapped up the bonus point in a little over half an hour, but did not have things all their own way, particularly in the second half. Namibia centre Johan Deysel got the biggest cheer of the night when crossing after 50 minutes.
Fleet feet and slick hands – Nehe Milner-Skudder darted around would-be tacklers with ease, his footwork continually fooling Namibia defenders and if he didn’t burst clear himself he’d pass to a team-mate. Then there were the hands of Sonny Bill Williams, king of the offloads. His pass out the back to Malakai Fekitoa showed great skill and awareness to know his centre partner was coming. He was at it again in the build-up to Milner-Skudder’s try too. Milner-Skudder then produced a sublime offload of his own to send Codie Taylor over in the last minute.
Jacques Burger – As always, the Namibia captain was ferocious and relentless in the tackle. Ably assisted by his back-row buddy Tinus du Plessis (15 tackles), Burger (12 tackles) made sure the All Blacks will feel a few after-effects when they wake up tomorrow morning. Without such commitment in defence the scoreline would have been higher.
Opposition hopes – The All Blacks may have run in nine tries but this was not as complete a performance as Steve Hansen would have hoped. The coach will not have been happy to concede a try while his team’s failure to take control of the match in the second half will have given their title rivals a glimmer of hope.
Flat atmosphere – This was always going to be a one-sided match but the sign of a Mexican wave within 20 minutes only served to demonstrate how little the crowd was invested in events on the field. Even the cheers for the tries grew quieter as the match wore on (Namibia’s aside!) and in between those All Black scores the Olympic Stadium, so raucous in 2012, was eerily quiet.
TMOs, again – It’s becoming a theme of this World Cup, and the constant referrals to the video officials are beginning to grate. The amount of whistle in the second half meant there was no flow to the game and that was disrupted further when the TMO was called in. Yes, we want the right decisions but there must be a quicker way of doing things – and the referee should back himself.
522 – The number of metres made by New Zealand compared to 61 by Namibia.
11 – The number of offloads made by New Zealand compared to one by Namibia.
3 – The numnber of clean breaks made by Nehe Milner-Skudder, more than any other player. He also topped the metres charts with 95.
31 – The number of tackles made by New Zealand compared to 110 by Namibia.
New Zealand: C Slade (B Smith 51); N Milner-Skudder, M Fekitoa, SB Williams (M Nonu 62), J Savea; B Barrett, TJ Perenara (T Kerr-Barlow 48); B Franks, C Taylor, C Faumuina (W Crockett 64), L Romano, S Whitelock (K Read 58), J Kaino (R McCaw 62), S Cane (capt), V Vito.
Tries (9): Vito, Milner-Skudder 2, Fekitoa, Barrett, Savea 2, Smith, Taylor. Cons: Barrett 4, Slade. Pens: Barrett.
Namibia: J Tromp; D Philander (C Viviers 58-68), JC Greyling, J Deysel, C Marais (C Botha 45); T Kotze, E Jantjies (E Buitendag 73); J Engels, T van Jaarsveld (L van der Westhuizen 73), J Coetzee (R Larson 48, J Coetzee 60-69, 73), PJ van Lill (R Kitshoff 62), T Uanivi, J Burger (capt, J Venter 65), T du Plessis (L Damens 50-53), L Damens (R Bothma 45).
Try: Deysel. Pens: Kotze 3.
Yellow card: Engels (58)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Man of the Match: Nehe Milner-Skudder
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