Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' win over Namibia

The All Blacks are three from three at the 2019 Rugby World Cup after an impressive 71-9 win over Namibia on Sunday. 

Despite the one-sided scoreline, New Zealand were pushed in the first half, led just 10-9 after 35 minutes.

But as the game progressed, the makeshift All Blacks team showed their class, scoring 11 tries in the match. 

They have one more pool game against Italy, before the quarter-final stages of the tournament. 

Mariette Adams - SA Rugby Mag

 

"The All Blacks overcame a spirited first-half effort from Namibia to claim a 71-9 bonus-point win in Tokyo.

"Although the world champs certainly didn't have it all their own way, they ultimately got the job done to confirm their status as Pool B winners and subsequently book a place in the quarter-finals.

"But with a powerful side selected for this clash, there will be some concern that they failed to dominate in the manner expected early on. 

"Thanks to an even share of the territorial and possession stakes, Namibia kept New Zealand honest - and frustrated - for the best part of the first half.

"But it speaks to the class of the All Blacks that they still managed to muster up a handy halftime despite their lacklustre display, before seizing control of the game in the second stanza.

"Adding to their indifferent performance, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will also be none too pleased with conceding two yellow cards either side of the break. Front rowers Nepo Lualala and Ofa Tuungafasi were given their marching orders for two similar high tackle offences."

Robert Kitson - The Guardian

 

"Not every inflated Rugby World Cup scoreline tells the full story and this was a prime example. New Zealand finished up with 11 tries and a comfortable-looking victory, but the final margin did scant justice to the efforts of a spirited Namibia side.

"It even caused Steve Hansen to suggest afterwards his players 'didn't turn up with the right attitude' in the first half, before order was restored with a torrent of 47 unanswered second-half points. Until the game's final score - a spectacular try finished in the left corner by TJ Perenara, following a reverse pass from his energetic fellow replacement, Brad Weber - it was Namibia who provided much of the entertainment.

"Their collection of amateurs and journeymen pros - the lineup included farmers, a bank worker and a dentist - certainly did Namibia proud, playing with more pace, intent and accuracy than many of their supposed peers. 

"For just over three minutes, the lowest-ranked side in the World Cup led the winners of the last two editions on the scoreboard and were still just 10-9 down heading towards halftime.

"In the diminutive shape of their creative first-five,Helarius Kisting, and their even smaller No 9, Damian Stevens, one of the smoothest passers here, they had a splendid halfback pairing and Stevens proved equally impressive off the tee, nailing three penalties, as the referee Pascal Gaüzère showed New Zealand little mercy at the breakdown. 

"Hopefully, all those who say rugby's smaller nations are unworthy of the biggest stage were watching."

Joel Fitzpatick - Kyodo News

 

"For about 30 minutes on Sunday, Namibia looked very much New Zealand's equal, the African nation that has yet to win at the Rugby World Cup giving as good as they got, until the inevitable talent gap allowed the Kiwis to run away with a 71-9 win.

"Namibia led the game early at Tokyo Stadium for approximately three minutes and were a trysaving tackle away from going in front again in the 13th minute.

"The Welwitschias cut the deficit to just four with a 25th-minute penalty and then to one with another kick four minutes later, despite having already given up two tries.

"From that point on, however, New Zealand's class emerged and the All Blacks finished out the first half with two more tries - one to Angus Ta'avao and the other to Ben Smith - to take the lead to 15, despite losing Nepo Laulala to a yellow card for a high tackle.

"Incredibly, the team thought of as South Africa's smaller cousin were only one point worse off than the Springboks were at halftime of their game against New Zealand earlier in the tournament, a great achievement for a team that has now played 22 times at the World Cup without getting a win."

Daniel Schoefield - The Telegraph

 

"Move aside Uruguay and Japan, all hail Namibia. Ignore the final score, this was the guttiest performance in the World Cup of underdogs. 

"For 185 glorious seconds, Namibia led New Zealand. With five minutes remaining in the first half, the world champions were only leading by a point, with scrum-half Damian Stevens kicking three penalties for Namibia.

"The All Blacks, the all-conquering demi-gods, were rattled, frequently forced to scramble in defence, and made to look all too mortal by a squad of farmers, accountants and just seven professional players. 

"How they were sweating in that first half, when Nepo Lauala was sin-binned, when his swinging arm made contact with the head of Lesley Klim, who was practically crawling on the floor. A yellow was the correct decision, but it could easily have been red.

"Fellow prop Ofa Tuungafasi joined him in the sin-bin in the second half for another swinging arm tackle. 

"For the first half hour, any Japanese newcomer to the Tokyo Stadium would have struggled to differentiate the team that have never won a World Cup game versus the back-to-back champions. Captain Johan Deysel punched holes in the New Zealand defensive line time and time again, while wing Klim covered a mountain of ground in defence and attack.

"Yet the clear man of the match was hooker Torsten Van Jaarsveld, who terrorised the All Blacks at the breakdown.

"Of course, New Zealand pulled away to confirm their passage to the quarter-finals, but it is a mark of respect they paid Namibia that they were prepared to pound through the phases in the fifth minute of added time in the first half, before Ben Smith crashed over." 

Jack de Menezes - The Independent

 

"By the end of New Zealand's rout of Namibia, the All Blacks had a scrumhalf at 10, their starting flyhalf on the wing, a wing in the centre and a prop in the sin-bin for the second time, but it did not matter one bit.

"The Pool B encounter at the Tokyo Stadium lived up to expectations, with the All Blacks running in 11 tries, saving the best for last against a Namibia side that was much better value than the 71-9 scoreline suggests.

"Yes, this may have been biggest victory of the World Cup so far, but to tell the true story, you have to acknowledge that Namibia first took the lead of the match and New Zealand's advantage with 34 minutes gone was just a single point.

"The All Blacks showed plenty of changes - 12 in total to the starting XV - with Jordie Barrett getting his first run-out at flyhalf, but with names such as Lienert-Brown, Whitelock, and both Ben and Aaron Smith in the side, this was always going to go one way.

"There will be little to take from the match to test New Zealand's credentials, but then it was never going to be a day for that anyway.

"Instead, it was just a day to enjoy what was happening in front of you and there haven't been too many chances to do that this tournament, given the drama that has surrounded the tournament in scrutinising every single referee call."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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