The All Backs cruised to a compromising bonus point victory against Namibia in Pool C on Thursday night. At a vibrant, excited Olympic Stadium in front of over 52,000 supporters New Zealand ran in nine tries to the Welwitschias one to make it back-to-back wins following their triumph over Argentina last Sunday.
New Zealand had the bonus point wrapped up by the half hour through tries from Victor Vito, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Malakai Fekitoa and fly-half Beauden Barrett.
Another try from speedster Milner-Skudder along with 11 points from the tee by Barrett, made up of four conversions and a penalty, give the All Blacks a 34-6 lead at half-time.
A brace from Julian Savea along with tries from Ben Smith and Codie Taylor after break added to New Zealand’s lead with Barrett converting two of the four as the All Blacks coasted to the satisfying 58-14 win.
However, led by their Captain Jacques Burger, Namibia battled resolutely and scored a deserved try of their own through Johan Deysel in the second-half. Theuns Kotze’s efforts from the tee throughout, which included three penalty’s, took Welwitschias to a respectable total of 14 points.
Barrett fired a penalty over early on before big number 8 Victor Vito touched down the All Blacks first try after just six minutes. And Barrett added the extras to give the heavy favourites a ten-point lead within seven minutes.
Magical footwork from Nehe Milner-Skudder had the vibrant winger diving over after nine minutes but this time Barrett could not add the two points from the tee, 15-0.
Underdogs Namibia then got on the scoreboard after 13 minutes when Kotze kicked a penalty, which was greeted by a tremendous roar from the crowd, who as always were backing the underdogs.
But normality was restored soon after as Sonny Bill Williams offloaded tremendously to the supporting Fekitoa, who crashed through under the posts, and Barrett was successful with a simple conversion, 22-3.
Kotze nevertheless ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over for Namibia soon after with another penalty after 23 minutes.
New Zealand though secured the bonus point on the half hour as Barrett bumped off an attempted tackle from Burger before sprinting under the posts. The fly-half converted his own try to extend the All Blacks lead to 23 points.
Milner-Skudder then finished off a move initiated by another superb offload from Bill Williams, and Barrett converted to ensure Steve Hansens team were home and dry by the break, 36-6.
Kotze did get Namibia off to a good start in the second half with another penalty after just three minutes, but they found themselves conceding another try shortly after.
This time, Savea got in on the act to score his 31st international try. The powerful winger burst through and wriggled under the posts for the score, leaving a routine conversion for Barrett, 41-9.
But after 50 minutes, Namibia got their fair reward for courageous attacking when their quick recycling of the ball saw it swept out to centre Johan Deysel, who bullied his way over the line, but Kotze couldn’t kick the resulting conversion.
The underdogs were then reduced to 14 men after 54 minutes when Jaco Engels saw yellow for knocking the ball illegally out of Tawera Kerr-Barlow’s hands as the scrum-half attempted to pass from the ruck.
Ben Smith took advantage of the man advantage, finding a hole to dart through and touch down in the corner on the hour mark, but Barrett screwed the difficult conversion wide of the post, 46-14.
Savea then powered over for his second in the corner after 74 minutes before Milner-Skudder, one minute from time, slipped in Codie Taylor to stroll over the line for New Zealand’s ninth and final try.
Barett missed the first conversion but nailed the second to bring the curtain down on another entertaining World Cup match that supplied a tremendous ten tries, 58-14.
Man of the Match- Nehe Milner-Skudder
Zig-zagging Milner Skudder was a thorn on Namibia’s side all evening long with his ambitious running, nimble feet and great finishing. The winger dived over for two tries and set up one for Taylor but in truth he could have scored even more.