All Blacks thrash Namibia 71-3

By Shalveen Chand 16 September 2023, 12:07PM

New Zealand put their opening Pool A defeat by France behind them to rattle up 11 tries against Namibia at a wet Stadium de Toulouse.

Scrum-half Cam Roigard, starting his first test, grabbed two early tries before Tian Swanepoel kicked a penalty for Namibia, who lost centre Le Roux Malan to a serious leg injury after 17 minutes.

The All Blacks ran in four more scores before the interval, Damian McKenzie darting through a gap, Leicester Fainga’anuku powering over and Anton Lienert-Brown dabbing down his own kick ahead before Roigard laid on a second for McKenzie.

The tries continued to arrive at regular intervals in the second half, prop Ethan de Groot scoring with his first touch, Dalton Papali’i taking Beauden Barrett’s pass to dive over before David Havili, Caleb Clarke – equalling his father Eroni’s test tally of six – and Rieko Ioane added further scores, the only blot on New Zealand’s night a late red card – upgraded from yellow by a bunker review - for De Groot.

Roigard, named the Mastercard Player of the Match, said it was "pretty surreal" to mark his first start with a brace of tries as he and McKenzie combined well to orchestrate the All Blacks' attack.  

"We've had some training reps together and we're starting to work out how we like to play," he said. "I know his attacking style suits mine so I really enjoyed it tonight, playing alongside him.

"The atmosphere was amazing and we were quite fortunate our forwards were dominant and gave me a good platform to play off.  

"On the other side, credit to Namibia, they showed a lot of passion and heart. I hope that fella [Malan] that injured his leg is alright. We don't like seeing players injured like that."

All Blacks captain Ardie Savea was pleased with his side's performance, although he felt there was still room for improvement in certain departments.

"It's a good feeling getting the win today, especially after last week's result," he said. "There's still a few areas where Namibia put us under pressure but we'll take that.

"Our discipline and our defence, we gave a few penalties away and they got opportunities to drive. We want to eliminate those and be ruthless in those areas."

Head coach Ian Foster hailed his side's dominance up front and said the performance was "a step forward" after their 27-13 defeat by France in their opening game.

He added that would need to look again at De Groot's tackle on Namibia replacement Adriaan Booysen, which earned the replacement All Blacks prop a red card.

"Obviously there was shoulder on shoulder involved in that contact but clearly they saw it was a red card," he added. "We'll compare it to something else that happened yesterday and see what comes out of that."

Namibia counterpart Alister Coetzee complimented the "fight" of his team, despite their margin of defeat.

“We were up against a classy All Blacks side and with the pace they play at, it was quite tough for our boys," he said. "But against a world-class team like that, we can take a lot of pride from this."

Captain Johan Deysel added: “New Zealand were incredible tonight, especially in the first half. We couldn’t stop them but in the second half we fought back and chased that try, but couldn’t get it. We had a few chances but they stopped us. But I am still proud of the boys."

Source: World Rugby

By Shalveen Chand 16 September 2023, 12:07PM
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