WATCH: New Zealand overrun brave Namibia 71-9 in RWC 2019
New Zealand took on the tournament's lowest ranked team Namibia in Tokyo.
Coming in to the game, the All blacks had conquered 16 games in a row at World Cups and have never lost a group-stage game in 30 attempts. Namibia meanwhile were yet to win a single WC match in 21 attempts and that record continued today.
New Zealand 71-9 Namibia: Watch highlights below
Four minutes into the game and the unexpected unfolded as Namibia took the lead after being awarded a penalty! Damian Stevens stepped up and slotted the ball through with a sweet kick.
The Namibian joy was short lived however as just two minutes later, New Zealand responded with a try; Jordie Barrett did well to find Sevu Reece with a cross field pass who then dodged a tackler to score. 5-3 it stood to NZ.
21 minutes passed and the All Blacks pulled a seven point lead with another try as Anton Lienert-Brown did the honours after gathering a delicate offload from Ardie Savea. Barrett missed the conversion.
Five minutes later and Namibia had another penalty and once again, Stevens made no mistake as three more points were added to the Namibian score. 10-6 it stood to NZ.
Half an hour into the game and Namibia were invoking rapturous celebrations from their fans after Stevens converted yet another penalty for a tantalising scoreline of 10-9 – a sole point behind the reigning champions.
Four minutes before halftime and Angus Ta'avao got over the line to give New Zealand some breathing space and Barrett grabbed the conversion for a score of 17-9. And then, with seconds left in the first half, NZ landed another converted try as Aaron Smith lobbed a lovely pass to Ben Smith who touched down. Barrett converted for a halftime score of 24-9.
Namibia resilience and their quick, organised play had raised more than a a few eyebrows in the opening 40 minutes; nevertheless it was the All Blacks who headed down the tunnels with a 15 point lead.
The second half kicked off and it would require a massive undertaking from the Namibians to keep the All Blacks at bay.
42 minutes in and New Zealand extended their lead after Joe Moody charged over the line to score and Barrett made no mistake with the conversion. 31-9 it stood to NZ.
46 minutes in and Lienert-Brown bagged his second try of the game after a sniper's pass from Barrett; the conversion was pocketed.
The relentless Kiwis kept at it with another try in the 51st minute; Reece collected the ball on the overlap to score in the corner and Barrett grabbed the conversion as the score read 45-9.
No mercy from the champs as another try arrived 56 minutes in; Sam Whitelock was the man responsible after collecting from the ruck as NZ reached their half-century with the conversion.
100 - Sam Whitelock picked up his 100th Test victory in #NZLvNAM, becoming just the fifth player in Test history to rack up a century of wins (Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Tony Woodcock). King.#RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/A70JVC7XtI
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) October 6, 2019
Smith grabbed his second try in the 67th minute after a slick offload from Lienert-Brown handed him the ball. 59 -9 it stood after Barrett got the conversion.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, NZ didn't unabated efforts resulted in Barrett crossing the try line in the 76th minute to jot down NZ's 10th try of the game.
And then, with a minute left in the encounter, Brad Weber tossed an offload to find TJ Perenara who took off at pace to touch down in the corner with a brilliant finish.
And so it finished in Tokyo, with a final scoreline of 71-9 to the All Blacks.
While the scoreline will (rightfully) shower praise on the Kiwis, Namibia will have no reasons to cower in shame after a resilient and brave performance and for a brief moment in the game, they held a lead over the best team on the planet. No mean feat.
New Zealand meanwhile further highlighted their champion credentials with another domineering win, pulling away in the second half and bettering their previous high score of 63 against Canada. This also happened to be the 12th time that the Kiwis have noticed up 70+ points in a RWC game.
Some incredible stats for Anton Lienert-Brown who wins the @mastercard Player of the Match for #NZLvNAM
➡️106 metres gained
➡️Two clean breaks
➡️Nine Defenders (Most)#RWC2019 #StartSomethingPriceless #POTM pic.twitter.com/8K2RxPnuSy
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 6, 2019