New Zealand bounced back from their opening Rugby World Cup defeat to France by dominating Namibia, winning 71-3 at Stadium de Toulouse on Friday.
It was one-way traffic in the Pool A clash as the All Blacks ran in 11 tries on the night, with Damian McKenzie adding a further 16 points off the tee.
Electric half-backs Cam Roigard and McKenzie starred with two tries apiece while Leicester Fainga’anuku, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ethan De Groot, Dalton Papali’i, David Havili, Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane also crossed as New Zealand showed their class.
However, replacement prop De Groot’s evening was soured by a yellow card that was upgraded to red after he made head on head contact in a tackle.
There was no such negativity for scrum-half Roigard though, with the youngster shining on his first start as he won the Player of the Match award.
Namibia remain without a victory in 23 attempts at the World Cup going back to 1999 and never looked strong enough to pose problems for New Zealand.
The three-time winners drew first blood after only two minutes. McKenzie kicked on for Fainga’anuku to collect and he offloaded for Roigard to take over and score under the posts, with McKenzie converting comfortably.
It took only another six minutes for the lead to extend to 12 points when Roigard received the ball from a scrum and went over for his second try.
Namibia’s night took a further turn for the worse when centre Le Roux Malan suffered a bad knee injury, leaving the pitch on a stretcher and clutching an oxygen mask, moments after Tiaan Swanepoel had cut the deficit with a penalty.
Minutes later New Zealand pulled further ahead when McKenzie went over for a converted try, weaving through Namibia’s line to make it 19-3.
The bonus point was secured for the All Blacks with 15 minutes of the first half still to play, Fainga’anuku powering over and showing excellent hands for his team’s fourth try, before two tries in just over a minute made the score unassailable before the break.
First, Lienert-Brown took full advantage of the slippery conditions with two well controlled kicks along the ground to get in behind Namibia and drop on it as it crossed the try-line, then McKenzie added his second of the game when he collected from Roigard off a scrum and crossed the whitewash to make it 38-3 at the interval.
De Groot ensured New Zealand began the second half in the same ruthless vain with which they finished the first, the prop crashing over just 30 seconds after coming off the bench despite the attentions of two Namibia defenders.
Beauden Barrett made the next try for Papali’i, breaking out wide before slipping the ball across with a fine bullet pass for the flanker to go over under the posts, minutes before Havili took advantage of a superb run through the middle from Roigard to go over the line and make it 57-3.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) September 15, 2023
Clarke scored New Zealand’s 10th try when he got on the end of a cross-field kick from Richie Mo’unga to slide over the line.
De Groot was sent to the sin bin with eight minutes to play – later upgraded to a red card for dangerous play – but it did not halt New Zealand’s charge, replacement Ioane scoring to make it 71-3 near the end.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (c), 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Tupou Vaa’i, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Rieko Ioane
Namibia: 15 Cliven Loubser, 14 Gerswin Mouton, 13 Johan Deysel (c), 12 Le Roux Malan, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Damian Stevens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Prince Gaoseb, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Jason Benade
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Desiderius Sethie, 18 Haitembu Shifuka, 19 PJ Van Lill, 20 Adriaan Booysen, 21 Max Katjijeko, 22 Jacques Theron, 23 JC Greyling
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)