The Fiji Times
Red card crisis
All Blacks rout Namibia but win marred sent off
THE All Blacks ran in 11 tries in a 71-3 hammering of Namibia in their second World Cup match in Toulouse but the win was marred by a red card to prop Ethan de Groot.
Stung by their loss to France in the tournament opener last week, the All Blacks tore into the Africans from the kickoff at a high tempo and halfback and World Cup debutant Cam Roigard crossed twice in the first seven minutes on his first test start.
First-five Damian McKenzie also grabbed two tries, the bonus point was secured by winger Leicester Fainga’anuku in the 25th minute, and after that it was only a matter of how many points the All Blacks could score.
Namibia never stopped looking for a try and had their chances, but move on to face France next week still without a World Cup win in 24 attempts.
All Blacks prop De Groot was sent off for a high tackle late in the game and he’s likely to cop a ban, potentially putting him in doubt for the rest of the tournament.
New Zealand were wasteful at times, but then they could afford to be. Winger Caleb Clark appeared to have squandered a break when in plenty of space on the right, but hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho was on hand to rumble over from a team drive shortly after.
The swirling rain that made a mockery of World Rugby’s granting of extra water breaks for the fixture did not deter the All Blacks from some typically ambitious play.
Prop Ofa Tuungafasi collected a pass on a break down the left and swung it without looking behind his back to the onrushing Beauden Barrett, before the play cut back inside for the livewire McKenzie to romp under the posts.
McKenzie, who despite his sparkling portfolio of skills has struggled to nail down a starting berth in the All Blacks, was on effervescent form here as he unleashed kick passes, silky offloads and effortless sidesteps.
Namibia’s first-five Tiaan Swanepoel notched a first half penalty to make sure the underdogs would not leave scoreless, but otherwise opted mostly to kick to touch as the crowd, hungry for amusement in the one-sided affair, bayed for them to score.
One sliced touchfinder that actually appeared to go backwards into the crowd, when the corner was beckoning, summed up the difference in class between the sides.
Namibia left slightly worse off than the 71-9 margin when these sides met in the last World Cup.
The game also looks likely to have cost Namibia Le Roux Malan for the rest of the tournament, after he went down with what looked like an awful knee injury and was driven off the field on a cart.
The crowd were on their feet to applaud him as he raised a fist from his stretcher on the way off, defiant amid disaster.