The defending champions showed their class with a comprehensive 58-14 win over minnows Namibia.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
New Zealand eased past Namibia by a 58-14 margin during Thursday’s Rugby World Cup action at the Olympic stadium in London. It was a battle between the highest ranked team in the world against the lowest as the Namibians were hoping to spring an unlikely surprise similar to the one Japan provided to South Africa last week.
New Zealand opened the scoring after only six minutes with Victor Vito and the floodgates opened with Milner-Skudder, Malakai Fetoa and Beauden Barrett all getting on the score sheet for the All Blacks before the end of the first half. Namibia however made life difficult for the All Blacks as they gave a dogged defensive performance to prevent the highly talented New Zealanders from scoring.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Julian Savea scored a try immediately after the restart to further cement their lead. Namibia continued to make things difficult with their Captain Jacques Burger who is well respected for the quality of rugby he plays for the Saracens club in London, being very aggressive on the tackle.
Namibia also pleased the crowd as they pulled back a try through Johan Deysel. Jaco Engels was then shown a yellow card weakening their squad but they still tried to hold on. Finally Savea added his second as Ben Smith and Codie Taylor added to the score line.
However, the game proved that Namibia have taken great strides towards improving as the score line was more respectable in comparison to previous editions of the Rugby World Cup. In 2003 they were humiliated by a 142-0 margin by Australia while in 2011 they were on the receiving end of two 80-0 losses from South Africa and Wales respectively.