New Zealand put their opening-day defeat to France behind them as they ran in 11 tries to annihilate Namibia 71-3 in a one-sided 2023 Rugby World Cup Group A match on Friday evening.
This was Welwitschias second defeat, having fallen to Italy in their first match.
The match also saw Namibia lose centre Le Roux Malan to a serious leg injury after 17 minutes.
But before that, Cam Roigard scored two quick-fire tries before a Tian Swanepoel penalty saw the All Blacks lead 15-3.
From that point on, it was one-way traffic as the former world champions scored four more tries through double scorer Damian McKenzie, Leicester Fainga’anuku, and Anton Lienert-Brown. The free-scoring All Blacks went into the break leading 38-3, and after the resumption, it was business as usual as they racked up five more tries, four of which were not converted.
Prop Ethan de Groot was the first to score in the second half as he touched down with his first touch, before Dalton Papali’i dived over following a slick pass from Beauden Barrett.
Up next was Caleb Clarke, who scored a try to equal his father Eroni’s test tally of six, with Rieko Ioane adding the final try.
New Zealand’s were dealt a blow when de Groot was sin binned for a shoulder charge, that was later upgraded to a red card from a yellow following a bunker review.
Of the eleven tries scored, eight were converted, while Namibia hardly threatened as the All Blacks went all out to win the match with one bonus point.
According to World Rugby, Namibia head coach Allister 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. “But against a world-class team like that, we can take a lot of pride from this,” he said.
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.”
Namibia next play hosts France on Thursday, 21 September before concluding their fixtures on Wednesday, 27 September.