All Blacks ease past Namibia

Date published: September 24 2015

New Zealand produced a clinical display as they cruised past a valiant Namibia 58-14 at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday.

In the first meeting between the two teams, there was only ever going to be one winner, and the All Blacks were thoroughly professional as they downed their overmatched opponents scoring nine tries in total.

However, the loudest cheer of the evening went to Namibia centre Johan Deysel, as he scored their first try of the tournament ten minutes into the second-half.

New Zealand had five tries by half-time, with Sonny Bill Williams stealing the limelight with some delightful offloads and Nehe Milner-Skudder grabbing two tries.

Victor Vito had got them on their way with the first try, while Malakai Fekitoa and Beauden Barrett also crossed as Namibia had little answer to the world champions.

The second-half gave Julian Savea the chance to end his try-scoring drought in black, scoring his first Test try of 2015, although the All Black winger still looks worryingly short of form despite a second try late on.

Ben Smith also crossed after coming off the bench and Codie Taylor scored with the final play of the game, but Steve Hansen will have been disappointed with the lack of accuracy from his side in the second-half as they allowed their standards to drop considerably, while Barrett's goal-kicking was inconsistent.

It didn't take long for New Zealand to exert their dominance, with an early penalty from in front from Barrett giving them a 3-0 lead after four minutes.

And a minute later they were over for their first try, Savea breaking down the left and two phases later Vito finding enough space to get over in the same corner. Barrett converted from the touchline to make it 10-0 to the world champions.

It was a sign of things to come and after another Vito break Milner-Skudder made up for a sloppy performance against Argentina with a fine finish for New Zealand's second. Collecting the wide ball from Fekitoa he easily stepped inside Deysel and dived over, although Barrett couldn't convert from the opposite touchline.

Namibia got on the board just before the quarter-hour however, when Ben Franks was penalised for holding on, allowing Theuns Kotzè to slot three points from just over 40 metres out.

That brought a huge cheer, and it was nearly matched a few minutes later when an All Black lineout five metres out was stolen by Tjuee Uanivi, allowing them to clear their lines.

New Zealand were just too big, too strong and too quick, and they had a third try on the board after 20 minutes. Williams shrugged off a couple of tackles after taking Barrett's pop pass. He was finally stopped short of the line but produced a trademark offload to give Fekitoa the easiest of finishes. With Barrett's conversion, the All Blacks led 22-3.

That soon became 22-6 when Charlie Faumuina rushed up too quickly in defence, allowing Kotzè to slot his second penalty of the evening.

But New Zealand came back again, and had their bonus point after just half an hour, Barrett spotting a huge gap in midfield and sprinting straight through before showing his pace to go under the posts. He converted his own try to make it 29-6.

Namibia could have had a try just before the break, but David Philander couldn't hold onto Colin Slade's loose pass, knocking on with no cover in behind.

Instead it was New Zealand who had the final word of the half, breaking through in midfield, and after Fekitoa had been stopped just short, the ball was spread wide for Milner-Skudder to grab his second. Barrett missed the conversion but New Zealand led 34-6 at the break.

Despite the one-sided nature of the scoreboard, Namibia continued to take shots at goal when they had the chance and Kotzè slotted his third penalty of the night to open the scoring in the second-half.

New Zealand had their sixth try soon after though, with Savea crossing for a morale-boosting score. Having struggled for form so far in 2015, he showed his power to crash through in midfield, and after being stopped just short, he reached out and placed the ball on the line. The All Blacks had decided to switch Slade and Barrett between full-back and fly-half at the break, and the former also took on kicking duties, slotting the simple conversion.

Having scored three penalties, Namibia decided to kick their next opportunity to the corner, and it paid dividends with their first try of the evening. A clever lineout move saw Torsten van Jaarsveld crash it up in midfield and after going right then back left, Deysel spun out of two tackles and powered his way over for the try. That brought a massive cheer from the crowd although Kotzè's conversion was just off-target.

The Welwitschias were performing admirably, but just before the hour their task got a great deal harder. After a string of attacks in the Namibian 22, Jaco Engels was caught killing the ball on his line, earning a yellow card from Romain Poite.

Namibia had actually outscored their illustrious opponents in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but the dam had to break eventually, and it was Smith, coming off the bench, who went over for their seventh try, although Barrett's touchline conversion was again wayward.

New Zealand lacked fluency in the final 20 minutes but did get over again through Savea, finishing with a low dive after the All Blacks had worked space on the left before Taylor finished the scoring following a stunning inside pass from Milner-Skudder.

Still, it was a respectable result for Namibia, who had been tipped to lose by a great deal more, and will take confidence heading into their next game against Tonga.

Man of the match: It could have gone to Sonny Bill Williams but Nehe Milner-Skudder's final assist gets him the nod. His step off his right foot is so hard to counter and he showed his finishing skills with two fine tries.

Moment of the match: There's no question it was Johan Deysel's try for Namibia. He slipped two men before bouncing off Malakai Fekitoa for a magical moment for the underdogs.

Villain of the match: No nasty business to report.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Vito, Milner-Skudder 2, Fekitoa, Barrett, Savea 2, Smith, Taylor
Cons: Barrett 4, Slade
Pen: Barrett

For Namibia:
Pens: Kotzè 3
Yellow card: Engels

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Tony Woodcock, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Ma'a Nonu, 23 Ben Smith.

Namibia: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 David Philander, 13 JC Greyling, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Conrad Marais, 10 Theuns Kotzè, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Leneve Damens, 7 Tinus du Plessis, 6 Jacques Burger (capt), 5 Pieter-Jan van Lill, 4 Tjuee Uanivi, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Jaco Engels.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Casper Viviers, 18 Raoul Larson, 19 Renaldo Bothma, 20 Janco Venter, 21 Rohan Kitshoff, 22 Eneill Buitendag, 23 Chrysander Botha.

Venue: The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

By Paul Eddison at the Olympic Stadium