Magic what he does

Ki­wis off to big start against brave Samoa

Sunday Star-Times - - Front Page - DAVID LONG

The Ki­wis have started their World Cup cam­paign in the fash­ion they needed to with an em­phatic 38-4 win over Samoa at Mt Smart Sta­dium last night.

At times the Ki­wis did lack a bit of pol­ish and some of their er­rors were rem­i­nis­cent of an­other team that of­ten plays at this venue.

How­ever, apart from a bad patch to­wards the end of the first half, they were too good for a Samoan side full of NRL play­ers and this re­sult goes a long way to­wards restor­ing some pride in their jer­sey.

The loss of Kenny Bromwich with a groin in­jury the day be­fore the game re­sulted in Adam Blair go­ing to lock, Si­mon Man­ner­ing mov­ing to the sec­ond row and Jared Waerea-Har­g­reaves start­ing prop. So a few changes, but didn’t re­ally mat­ter.

There was a highly charged at­mos­phere be­fore kick off with an emo­tional siva tau, fol­lowed by a haka in front of 17,857 spec­ta­tors.

Just three min­utes into the game Jor­dan Ra­pana made a break down the right edge, quickly ex­changed at it passes with Shaun John­son and then fin­ished off the at­tack with a try. Samoa were given a penalty 10m from the Ki­wis’ line in the 10th minute, they went for a tap but lost pos­ses­sion af­ter a few tack­les.

They kept the pres­sure on the Ki­wis close to their own line, but when the ball went wide to Dallin Watene-Zelez­niak he had the space to run 95m for a try. How­ever, he knocked the ball on and put the Ki­wis un­der pres­sure again.

The Ki­wis for­wards were not only able to out­mus­cle their op­po­nents up the mid­dle, they also had the panache to pull out off­loads and that’s ex­actly how their sec­ond try came, with Man­ner­ing swerv­ing through Samoan de­fend­ers and when fi­nally caught, he flicked the ball to Thomas Leu­luai, who then quickly fed it to John­son to score.

Bunty Afoa and Lee­son Ah Mau were im­pres­sive for Samoa up the mid­dle, but they didn’t look like a co­he­sive enough team to cap­i­talise on their strong runs.

But five min­utes be­fore the break Samoa wing Ken Mau­malo found him­self with an over­lap on the left edge. One quick side­step to throw off Roger Tuiv­asa-Sheck and he was in for a try.

The score at the break was 10-4 in favour of New Zealand and re­ally the Ki­wis should have been fur­ther ahead than that.

They did ex­tend their lead five min­utes into the sec­ond half when Mau­malo lost the ball in goal from a John­son grub­ber and Brad Takairangi was the first to seize on it.

Seven min­utes later there was some real class from the Ki­wis as John­son put through a per­fectly weighted grub­ber that Kodi Niko­rima dived on in goal for the Ki­wis’ fourth try.

Soon af­ter, Isaac Liu bull­dozed his way over for a try on de­but.

Up 26-4 and in a po­si­tion to coast home, Ger­ard Beale col­lapsed with­out be­ing touched and and had to leave the field on a med­i­cab with a leg in­jury and it could be that his World Cup is over.

Tuiv­asa-Sheck and Nel­son Aso­faSolomona picked up a late tries for the Ki­wis and the score­line at last re­flected New Zealand’s dom­i­na­tion. Next up for the Ki­wis is Scot­land in Christchurch on Satur­day.

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