New Zealand toy with Namibia in high-scoring victory

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2019 Rugby World Cup: New Zealand 71-9 Namibia

Played – 2

Namibia wins – 0

New Zealand wins – 2

Did you know?

  • Four years ago when these two sides met for the first time, it finished 58-14. Centre Johan Deysel scored a try and famously had beers with the All Blacks in the changing room after.
  • Sam Whitelock has captained New Zealand five times before this game, doing it three times against France.

In a nutshell

In the dying minutes, substitute TJ Perenara broke from ten – you read that right – and started a move that came back to him on the left wing. He ghosted in and despite it looking like he had jumped into touch in the corner, trying to score, replay after replay showed that despite what you thought, he was in to score. It was an unbelievable finish – and one he could barely believe he got.

Rugby World Cup: New Zealand 71-9 Namibia

Brick wall: Lesley Klim is sent backwards (Getty Images)

This was pretty much how the whole game went. Despite the staunch first half from the Namibians, in which they made breaks, slammed into contact, hustled relentlessly and held the All Blacks to just 24-9, the reiging champs ran away with it in the end.

The result was predetermined and Namibia even rested a few ahead of their Test against Canada, where they hope to net their first-ever World Cup win. But the quality of the All Blacks means that they can score 11 while playing two unfamiliar tens, with Jordie Barrett and then scrum-half Perenara playing at ten.

It was also a welcome return for Brodie Retallick, who has been out since an injury against South Africa in the Rugby Championship. He went off after half an hour and is set to play an hour against Italy. The Kiwis are getting one of their star men back as they roll into the quarter-finals.

With 35 minutes to go, New Zealand only led by a point. It was stellar stuff from the African side. And the All Blacks saw yellow twice, with Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Nepo Laulala both getting done. But the All Blacks turned the screw when they had to.

As uninspiring as they were in the first, they were fluent and inventive in the second – typified by Anton Lienert-Brown and Jordie Barrett running from an unfamiliar position. There was no jeopardy in this fixture and once Brodie Retallick went off after half an hour, there was a sense that they could relentlessly have a go.

Sevu Reece’s second try was a catch-pass masterpiece of simple rugby done really, really well.

Johan Deysel – who scored against the All Blacks four years ago – went off with his arm in a sling, which is a worrying sign for the Canada fixture. The Namibians will be proud of their showing against the world champions here. They made eight clean breaks and clocked up 145 tackles in the end.

But the Welwitschias only had a completion rate of 72% , and it is in the falling-off where the All Blacks thrive. The 11 tries came from braces for Lienert-Brown, Reece and Ben Smith and an army of lads on single figures. It did not matter what number was on their backs.

Perenara’s try was the pick of the bunch, with the half-back squeezing in. He started the sweeping move himself and then the pass back to him was incredible, with Brad Weber throwing a behind-the-back pop to his mate.

At the moment, against their current opposition, it doesn’t seem to matter what the make-up of the team is either. Against Italy, New Zealand can afford to rest a few, try a few, even put pressure on some to justify their place. Will there be more risks to face? Only slightly. But the Kiwis are now looking for two crushing halves before they go into the knock-outs.

They will have learnt very little new information, but the depth is good. As for the Namibians, they just confirmed why they are an asset to the World Cup in that first half. quality is a hostage to endeavour for them, but the heart is what all neutrals love.

Star man

Ben Smith is such a classy operator. At this stage of his career he looks to be an eager auxiliary, waiting for his chance while the Mo’unga-Barrett phase takes hold in the Kiwi backline. But what an option he is.

He can take his time and survey the scene against a team like Namibia. The Jordie Barrett option at fly-half will cause some musing, but his calm head and his shepherding of young back-three partners like Sevu Reec, Rieko Ioane and George Bridge is so impressive.

The reaction

Namibia head coach Nigel Davies: I’m very proud of the effort we put in. Particularly our ball retention and line breaks in the first half. We knew we were playing against the best team in the competition, the current champions but we gave it all we could. I couldn’t ask any more of our players. We’re very proud of them. The scoreboard looks a bit painful but there was lots to take out of the match.

“To play against New Zealand or at the World Cup is a fantastic opportunity and challenge. That’s what we talked about. Taking on the challenge and embracing the opportunity.”

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen: “The first half was pretty disappointing. We didn’t turn up with the right attitude and Namibia made us pay for that. It’s a good lesson, isn’t it?

“Second half, there was pretty good stuff in it. I was really pleased with Jordie Barrett at 10, (he) played very, very well.

“To be the third-choice first-five, and our two superstar first-fives not playing … He got us round the back well. We ended up scoring (11) tries so there’s a lot to like about it.”

New Zealand: Ben Smith, Sevu Reece (Rieko Ioane 66), Jack Goodhue (TJ Perenara 60), Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge; Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith (Brad Weber 50); Joe Moody (Ofa Tu’ungafasi 53), Codie Taylor (Dane Coles 50), Nepo Laulala (Angus Ta’avao 31), Brodie Retallick (Patrick Tuipulotu), Sam Whitelock (captain), Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea (Matt Todd 60).

Tries:  Reece 5, 51, Lienert-Brown 20, 46,  Ta’avao 35, Ben Smith 44, 67, Moody 41, Whitelock 55, Barrett 75, Perenara, 78. Cons: Jordie Barrett 36, 45, 43, 47, 52, 56, 68, 76.

Namibia: Johan Tromp, Lesley Klim, Justin Newman, Johan Deysel (captain) Darryl De La Harpe 56), JC Greyling (Janry du Toit 51); Helarius Kisting, Damian Stevens (Eugene Jantjies 66); Andre Rademeyer., Torsten van Jaarsveld (Obert Nortjé 66), AJ De Klerk (Johan Coetzee 40), PJ Van Lill (Johan Retief 16), Tjiuee Uanivi, Prince Gaoseb, Thomasau Forbes (Adriaan Booysen 61), Janco Venter.

Replacements: Nelius Theron.

Pens: Stevens 2, 25, 29.

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