Two tries a piece for Sevu Reece, Anton Leinert-Brown and Ben Smith, along with further tries from Angus Ta’avao, Joe Moody, Sam Whitelock, Jordie Barrett and TJ Perenara saw New Zealand claim a fantastic 11-try bonus-point victory in Pool B.
It was Namibia who got off to a brighter start and were ahead after three minutes when Damien Stevens slotted over a beautiful long-range penalty close the the left-hand touchline.
However, the All Blacks hit back and were in for their opening try of the day on seven minutes as Barrett sent over a lovely cross-field kick to the right-hand side near the Namibian line where Reece simply caught the ball and touched down. Barrett couldn’t add the extras with the conversion.
Namibia had a couple of good chances and held the All Blacks out until the 21st minute, but they couldn’t keep out Lienert-Brown, who broke through the opposition defence, raced toward the line, held off a couple of tackles to score their second five-pointer of the game. Barrett skewed the kick to the right of the posts leaving it at 10-3.
The minnows were refusing to give up and by the half hour mark they were back within a point of the back to back World Cup champions as Stevens kicked a further two penalties as they put some serious pressure on New Zealand.
On 31 minutes the All Blacks were reduced to 14-men as prop Nepo Laulala was handed a yellow-card for a dangerous tackle.
Despite being down a man it was the men in black that struck next as replacement front-rower Ta’avao finished of 12 phases beside the Namibian line by barrelling over near the posts. This time Barrett made no mistake with the conversion to stretch their advantage.
The All Blacks secured the bonus-point with the final play of the half as they finished off a set-play in the Namibian 22 by sending the ball out to Smith, who darted through a gap in the defensive line to score his side’s fourth try of the match. Barrett added the extras to leave it at 24-9 come the half-time whistle.
It took only two minutes of the second-half for New Zealand to register their fifth try with prop Moody powering over the line from a quick pick and go from a ruck. Barrett kicked the extra two to make it 31-9.
Five minutes later and Lienert-Brown was in for his second of the game after a brilliant break from Barrett inside his own half, where he raced forward before a one-two with Jack Goodhue, and then a simple pass to Lienert-Brown who scored in the corner. Barrett sent a fantastic conversion over from the right-touchline.
Another five minutes further and New Zealand sent the ball from the left hand side of the pitch to the right, with some great depth in the attacking line, with the ball eventually finding its way to Reece who charged forward before stepping inside and over the line for his second try. Barrett converted once more to give the All Blacks a 45-9 lead with just under 30 minutes remaining.
With 56 minutes on the clock captain Whitelock cleverly touched the ball down off the base of the post for his team’s eighth try with Barrett smashing over the easy kick as Namibia began to show signs of tiredness.
Eleven minutes later and Leinert-Brown was centre of another brilliant move in open-field, bursting through the defence, and while being tackled he offloaded beautifully to Smith, who got over for his brace in the left-corner. Barrett pinned the conversion to make it a 50-point margin.
New Zealand were reduced to 14-men once again when substitute prop Ofa Tuungafasi was shown a yellow card for a similar tackle to Laulala.
Despite being a man down the All Blacks got their tenth try with four minutes remaining through Barrett, as he made an unstoppable run close to the line to get over. He converted his own try to make it 66-9.
With little over a minute left in the game New Zealand showed some incredible skill as they broke down the left-wing, with replacement scrum-half Brad Weber producing an outrageous behind the back offload to fellow sub Perenara who finished superbly in the corner. Barrett failed to convert as the match ended 71-9.
New Zealand will now hope to end their pool stage campaign with a 100% record when they take on Italy next Saturday, while Namibia will be looking for a first win at the World Cup when they face Canada the following day.
All Blacks Player Ratings
Joe Moody (7), Codie Taylor (7), Nepo Laulala (5), Brodie Retallick (6), Samuel Whitelock (7), Shannon Frizell (7), Sam Cane (7), Ardie Savea (8), Aaron Smith (8), Jordie Barrett (9), George Bridge (6), Anton Lienert-Brown (9), Jack Goodhue (7), Sevu Reece (8), Ben Smith (8)
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video
While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.
RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.
How the draw worked
As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.
Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.
The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.
Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023
- Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
- 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
- RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France
World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.
With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.
The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.
The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.
The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.
RWC 2023 qualification principles
- Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
- Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2
- Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
- Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
- Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
- Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner
Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.
“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.
“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.
“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”
Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.
“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”
Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.
Official Press Release from World Rugby
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
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