New Zealand swiftly recovered from their initial Pool A loss to France by delivering an astonishing performance, scoring 11 tries against Namibia in a rain-soaked Stadium de Toulouse.
In his first test appearance, scrum-half Cam Roigard secured two early tries, while Tian Swanepoel managed to kick a penalty for Namibia. Unfortunately, Namibia’s Le Roux Malan had to leave the game due to a severe leg injury just 17 minutes into the match.
Before halftime, the All Blacks added four more tries to their tally. Damian McKenzie skillfully navigated through a gap, Leicester Fainga’anuku powered over the try line, and Anton Lienert-Brown executed a precise kick ahead to score. Roigard then set up another try for McKenzie.
The second half witnessed a steady stream of tries. Prop Ethan de Groot scored with his first touch, Dalton Papali’i capitalized on Beauden Barrett’s pass to dive over, and David Havili, Caleb Clarke, and Rieko Ioane contributed to the growing score. The only setback for New Zealand was a late red card issued to De Groot, which was upgraded from a yellow card after a review by the officials.
Cam Roigard, named the Mastercard Player of the Match, expressed his amazement at marking his first start with two tries. He praised his partnership with McKenzie and credited the dominant performance of the forward players, which provided a strong platform for their attack.
Roigard said, “We’ve had some training reps together, and we’re starting to work out how we like to play. I know his attacking style suits mine, so I really enjoyed it tonight, playing alongside him. The atmosphere was amazing, and we were quite fortunate our forwards were dominant and gave me a good platform to play off. On the other side, credit to Namibia; they showed a lot of passion and heart. I hope that fella [Malan] that injured his leg is alright. We don’t like seeing players injured like that.”
All Blacks captain Ardie Savea expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance but acknowledged areas for improvement. He emphasized the need to enhance discipline and defense, aiming to eliminate penalties and be more ruthless.
Head coach Ian Foster praised his team’s dominance in the forward play and considered the performance a significant step forward after their initial defeat to France. He also mentioned the need to review De Groot’s red card incident.
Foster stated, “Obviously, there was shoulder-on-shoulder contact involved in that tackle, but clearly, they saw it as a red card. We’ll compare it to something else that happened yesterday and see what comes out of that.”
Namibia’s head coach, Alister Coetzee, commended the fighting spirit of his team despite the substantial margin of defeat. He recognized the challenge posed by the world-class All Blacks and acknowledged the pride that could be taken from the match.
Captain Johan Deysel added, “New Zealand were incredible tonight, especially in the first half. We couldn’t stop them, but in the second half, we fought back and chased that try, but couldn’t get it. We had a few chances, but they stopped us. But I am still proud of the boys.