Rugby World Cup: Cam Roigard runs rampant as All Blacks hammer Namibia to end losing run

As was completely expected, the All Blacks have got their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track - cruising to a 71-3 victory over Namibia at Stadium de Toulouse.

In just the third meeting between the two sides, and four years on from a 71-9 victory at the last World Cup, the All Blacks' perfect record against Namibia never looked in danger.

Bouncing back from consecutive defeats to South Africa and France, coach Ian Foster's men ran in 11 tries on a night that saw Sam Whitelock equal Richie McCaw's record of 148 test caps - the most for a New Zealander.

Foster will be left with a headache moving forward in the tournament though, after Ethan de Groot was red carded for a late high tackle.

The All Blacks will now face an anxious wait over de Groot, who will front World Rugby's judiciary to determine his involvement in the rest of the World Cup.

Cam Roigard against Namibia.
Cam Roigard against Namibia. Photo credit: Photosport

But while the All Blacks honoured their most senior player, it was one of their greenest who caught the eye, as halfback Cam Roigard scored twice and created three more, to put himself at the front of the queue for the No.9 jersey when Aaron Smith departs after 2023.

In less than two minutes, Roigard marked his first test start with his second test try, as a series of passes on the left wing saw Leicester Fainga'anuku slip the halfback away, after a crossfield kick from Beauden Barrett.

Minutes later, the All Blacks broke from their own tryline, as another Barrett kick looked to have set up Damian McKenzie, only for replays to show he'd grounded the ball early.

But from the resulting scrum, a huge effort from the All Blacks' pack pushed Namibia off the ball, as Roigard darted over for his second in the opening 10 minutes.  

Down 12-0, Namibia got on the board through the boot of first-five Tiaan Swanepoel, who landed a penalty from inside the All Blacks' half.

Samisoni Taukei'aho looked to have added the All Blacks' third, only for an obstruction call against Whitelock and Ofa Tu'ungafasi to rule it out.

Namibia's woes were further compounded midway through the first half, when second-five Le Roux Malan was taken from the field by medical staff with what appeared to be a lower leg injury.

Once play resumed, though, McKenzie had the try he was earlier denied, when he was sent over by Roigard for the All Blacks' third try.

Anton Lienert-Brown and Damian McKenzie celebrate.
Anton Lienert-Brown and Damian McKenzie celebrate. Photo credit: Getty Images

The All Blacks had a fourth before the break, as Fainga'anuku beat one defender and held off another four to cross over for his first points, as the heavens opened over Toulouse.

Anton Lienert-Brown added the fifth try of the first half, as two clever kicks left Namibia open at the back and saw the centre run home to finish the move that he started, before Roigard sent McKenzie over for the sixth, giving the All Blacks a 38-3 halftime lead.

As conditions cleared for the start of the second half, Caleb Clarke nearly scored the seventh, latching onto a crossfield kick from David Havili, but stumbled out of touch with the tryline in sight.

Coming on as a replacement in the front row, de Groot scored with his first touch of the ball, before Namibia went to their bench. It made no avail though. 

Another try, this time to Dalton Papali'i and conversion from McKenzie, took the All Blacks to 50, before Roigard produced his third assist to see Havili score the ninth.  

To make matters worse for Namibia, the All Blacks could afford to bring on the likes of Scott Barrett, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga, as the scoreline continued to swell.

Mo'unga's introduction resulted in the All Blacks' 10th try, as a kick over the top landed perfectly for Clarke and took the score past the 58-14 win notched in the 2015 World Cup.

The only blemish on the night came when de Groot was shown a yellow card, deemed to have comitted foul play as the second defender in a tackle on replacement forward Adriaan Booysen, and seeing the All Blacks finish with 14 men. 

Upon a TMO review, de Groot's card was upgraded to red, to all but rule the prop out of the upcoming clash against Italy. 

But even with a numerical advantage, Namibia couldn't breach the All Blacks' tryline - seeing a late scrum against a seven-man forward pack repelled in a sight that would please forwards coach Jason Ryan.

And, with time all but up, Fainga'anuku set up Rieko Ioane in for try No.11, beating a tired defence to put the exclamation mark on the result and putting Namibia out of their misery. 

The All Blacks will now enjoy a week off, before returning to action in a vital clash against Italy at Lyon's Groupama Stadium on September 30.

Meanwhile, Namibia will face a short turnaround - with just six days until their next clash against hosts France in Marseille. Their wait for a maiden World Cup victory continues. 

All Blacks 71 (Roigard 2, McKenzie 2, Fainga'anuku, Lienert-Brown, de Groot, Papali'i, Havili, Clarke, Ioane tries; McKenzie 8 conversions)

Namibia 3 (Swanepoel penalty)