New Zealand shook off any lingering negative thoughts from their opening round defeat to France by hammering Namibia in Toulouse to get their first victory of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Ian Foster’s men started as they meant to go on with Cam Roigard, making his World Cup debut, finishing off a wonderfully sharp and slick move to get over the line with one minute gone on the clock. The No. 9 added a second try to his tally five minutes later as New Zealand showed just how they intended to play this match.
They wanted a big total and got one. 11 tries were scored in total with Damian McKenzie (x2), Leicester Fainga’anuku, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ethan de Groot, Dalton Papali’i, David Havili, Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane driving the All Blacks to a comfortable 71-3 victory.
It wasn’t a perfect night for New Zealand though as De Groot was shown a red card with the TMO bunker upgrading his initial yellow after reviewing the incident late in the game.
Relive all the action from the Stadium de Toulouse below.
All Blacks bounce back from opening defeat with 11-try mauling of Namibia
The All Blacks began their tournament with a defeat to hosts France in Paris but had no such trouble in their second outing as Cam Roigard and Cam McKenzie each scored two tries to help Ian Foster’s side collect a bonus point and move second in the pool.
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 – for whom Ethan de Groot was red carded in the final minutes – in a game played largely in torrential rain.
New Zealand 71-3 Namibia: Cam Roigard and Cam McKenzie each scored two tries to help Ian Foster’s side to a big win in Toulouse.
New Zealand scrum-half, Cam Roigard speaking to the BBC
“Pretty surreal, the atmosphere was outstanding we are fortunate that our forwards were dominant giving me a good platform to play off.
“But credit to Namibia they showed a lot of heart and passion.
“I suppose myself and Damien McKenzie have had some training groups together, we are working out how we like to play and his attacking play suits mine so I really enjoyed it tonight.”
Reaction from Ardie Savea
New Zealand captain Ardie Savea on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra said: “It is a good feeling getting the win after the last result. I am very proud of the men having a good week of preparation and getting the win.
“Still a few areas of improvement, Namibia put us under pressure, but we will work on it.
“Our discipline in defence is one we gave a few penalties away and we want to eliminate those and be ruthless in that area.
“A few who got their first real cup match tonight and Sam Whitelock getting his milestone.
“Damien McKenize and Cameron Roigard controlled the game well, McKenzie was finding space and Roigard running game was exploding around the breakdown, it was awesome.”
Ethan De Groot red card: Why was All Blacks star sent off at Rugby World Cup?
Ethan de Groot became the second player to see a yellow card upgraded to a red following a review from the TMO bunker in New Zealand’s barnstorming victory over Namibia.
De Groot became the first ever New Zealander to be dismissed at the World Cup for failing to wrap his arm around his opponent. He led with his shoulder and connected with the head leaving no other option for the officials but to pull out the red card.
His dismissal is one of a number of discipline incidents which hve shone a light on the consistency of officiating in this tournament. The most high-profile moment came last Saturday when an England player was shown a red card for the fourth time this year, as Tom Curry was sent off early in his side’s win over Argentina, following a head-on-head collision with Juan Cruz Mallia.
Head collisions and player safety continues to dominate the headlines at the Rugby World Cup
FULL TIME New Zealand 71 - 3 Namibia
It’s an 11-try victory for the All Blacks in Toulouse as they become the first side to win 50 RWC matches. An additionally memorable night for Whitelock as he equals Richie McCaw’s caps record at 148.
A confident and convincing performance across the board from New Zealand with some stunning tries scored, but it’s a shame to see a red card awarded towards the end. It didn’t have affect the score but could have an impact later in the tournament depending on a potential ban. Roigard excellent on RWC debut and he earned player of the match alongside his two tries.
Namibia had some chances towards the end and it was great to see them grow into the game, particularly after the shock of Le Roux Malan’s injury in the first half, but they lacked composure to make it over the line. What they lacked in composure they made up for in heart, and the French crowd were most definitely behind them at points!
Namibia next face hosts France on 21st September, while New Zealand will play Italy two weeks from now on 29th September.
(UPGRADED) RED CARD New Zealand 71-3 Namibia 78 mins
De Groot’s yellow card upgraded to a red, no mitigation. Seeing an awful lot of similar tackles at the moment...
TRY! New Zealand 71 - 3 Namibia 76 mins
Rieko Ioane with a try from the bench! He opens up the field with ease and runs away to score!
New Zealand 64 -3 Namibia 73 mins
Namibia so close again! They then have the scrum five metres out after an All Blacks knock on but switfly lose possession.
YELLOW CARD New Zealand 64 - Namibia 71 mins
Ethan de Groot’s shoulder makes contact with Adriaan Booysen’s head. Yellow card given to the try scorer and it goes to the bunker review but regardless of the decision New Zealand are down to 14 for the remainder of this Pool A match.
TRY! New Zealand 64 -3 Namibia 66 mins
Clarke gets his try! Richie Mo’unga drags the defenders in and looks as if he’s going to pass, but his crossfield kick lands perfectly for Clarke to gather and cross the line.
It’s his sixth try for New Zealand and his first at the World Cup after being close at various points in the match in the buildup. McKenzie (again) with the conversion.
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