New Zealand trounces Scotland 74-6 at World Cup
SYDNEY (AP) — New Zealand joined tournament co-hosts Australia in qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Rugby League World Cup with a record 74-6 win over Scotland at Christchurch on Saturday.
New Zealand followed up its 38-8 win over Samoa to remain on top of the Group B standings, and assured of a spot in the playoffs with its pool match against Tonga still to come.
Group A leaders Australia sealed its quarterfinal place on Friday by beating France after previously defeating England.
New Zealand's 14 tries to one victory over Scotland saw it top its previous highest score in test matches — 72-0 over a Pacific Island combination in 2008 — while Scotland suffered its heaviest ever international loss.
Te Maire Martin and Peta Hiku scored three tries each for the Kiwis while veteran winger Jason Nightingale crossed twice.
Kenny Bromwich, Dean Whare, Elijah Taylor, Russell Packer, Joseph Tipene and Shaun Johnson also scored tries for the home side while Johnson added nine conversions for a personally tally of 22 points.
Scotland scored a late consolation try through Oscar Thomas, nine minutes from full fulltime.
"Conceding tries is something we don't want to happen but just one try," New Zealand captain Adam Blair said. "I'm sure the coach will be happy with that but the players will look back and try to fix it."
Tonga faces Samoa in Hamilton later on Saturday before England tackles Lebanon in Sydney.
The top three teams from Groups A and B will qualify for the quarterfinals while just the winners of Group C — which involves Papua New Guinea, Ireland and Wales— and Group D — involving Fiji, United States and Italy— will join them in the last eight.