New Zealand reclaimed first-place in Pool B with a 71-9 win over Namibia on Sunday 6 October at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo. The All Blacks added two tries before the half to break open their 10-9 lead.
With the win, the All Blacks top Pool B with 14 points with South Africa and Italy with 10. Both Canada and Namibia are seeking their first win, as well as points.
New Zealand opened pool play with a 23-12 win over South Africa and followed with a 63-0 victory over Canada. They conclude pool play against Italy on Saturday 12 October. That match is a critical one in determining who advances to the Cup Quarterfinals.
South Africa will face Canada on Tuesday and will be seeking a bonus-point win. That would give the team 15 points, while a non-bonus point win, coupled with a non-bonus point Italy win over New Zealand could mean that the Pool is decided by point differential. Should Italy gain a bonus-point win over the All Blacks, they could win the pool with South Africa advancing if they obtain a bonus-point win over Canada or New Zealand still advancing if South Africa beats Canada without a bonus point.
That being said, New Zealand is strong favorites to win against Italy, with South Africa finishing second and Italy qualifying for the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
Namibia is 0-3 after today’s loss. They opened the RWC with a 47-22 loss to Italy and followed with a 57-3 loss to South Africa. They will be targeting their concluding pool play match against Canada that is on 12 October. Both Canada and Namibia are seeking their first win.
Namibia went through phases to open the match and a penalty for hands in by New Zealand at the breakdown, led to a Damian Stevens penalty goal to lead 3-0.
The All Blacks quickly answered back after a Jordie Barrett cross-kick to Sevu Reece for a try in the corner to lead 5-3.
Namibia had another break, but a penalty by the Welwitshcias stopped their attack.
New Zealand pushed the lead to 10-3 with a try by Anton Lienert-Brown with Jordie Barrett missing the extras again.
New Zealand paid for their infractions with two more penalty goals by Damian Stevens to cut the lead to 10-9.
Soon after, All Black tighthead prop Nepu Lalala made direct contact with JC Greyling’s head and was sent to the bin.
Tries by Angus Ta’avoa and by Ben Smith in the 38th and 41st minutes, respectively along with Barrett converting both, gave New Zealand a 24-9 lead at the break.
Just as New Zealand quickly added first-half closing tries, the All Blacks opened their try-scoring assault to begin the half. New Zealand added two tries by Joe Moody and Anton Lienert-Brown with Barrett adding the extras to lead 38-9.
Sevu Reece added a brace after the forwards and backs were involved in phase play and Sam Whitelock added another with Barrett on fire with the boot to lead 52-9.
Namibia got a second wind with Janry Du Toit racing down left touch with other bursts by Helarius Kisting and Lesley Klim. The All Blacks defense held.
Quick hands and a cross-kick resulted in a try by fullback Ben Smith in the corner with Barrett again slotting to lead 59-9.
Discipline again was an issue for New Zealand as Ofa Tuungafasi was sent to the bin for a high tackle. This was the second time in All Blacks history that the team received two yellow cards in an RWC match.
New Zealand added two more tries in the match. Jordie Barrett added a try, which he then converted and TJ Pernara added a try in the corner for a 71-9 victory.
During the second half, New Zealand controlled possession, territory, and their physicality wore down Namibia. The team had 11 tries in the match and re-claimed first place in Pool B.
Jordie Barrett had 21 points in the match, and Sevu Reece, Ben Smith, and Player of the Match, Anton Lienert-Brown, each scored two tries.
Namibia’s Damian Stevens 9 points against the All Blacks was nearly a record for a Tier 2 player. Both Conor Trainor (Canada) and Hiroyuki Kajihara (Japan) have scored 10.
Squads & Match Preview
New Zealand: 1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock (capt.), 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Ardie Savea, 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Jordie Barrett, 11 George Bridge, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 13 Jack Goodhue, 14 Sevu Reece, 15 Ben Smith 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao ,19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Brad Weber, 22 TJ Perenara, 23 Rieko Ioane
Namibia: 1. Andre Rademeyer, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 3 AJ De Klerk, 4 PJ Van Lill, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 6 Prince Gaoseb, 7 Thomasau Forbes, 8 Janco Venter, 9 Damian Stevens, 10 Helarius Kisting, 11 JC Greyling, 12 Johan Deysel (capt.), 13 Justin Newman, 14 Lesley Klim, 15 Johan Tromp 16 Obert Nortje, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Johannes Coetzee, 19 Johan Retief, 20 Adriaan Booysen, 21 Eugene Jantjies, 22 Darryl De La Harpe, 23 Janry du Toit
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistants: Shuhei Kobo (Japan), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)