Namibia 14 – 58 New Zealand
There was a lot of chatter before this match about world records: tries, points, differentials.
Shag wasn’t suckered.
In previous World Cups the All Blacks have had a few blow outs – and not won the damn Cup. I’m pleased that the All Blacks ignored the score and focused on pattern, structure, performance. That’s how you build a campaign.
And there were enough problems and errors for the coaches to have plenty of work-ons. The kick-pass was chosen and executed poorly, some offloads were pushed when the better option was going into contact, the penalties given away at the breakdown, a try leaked, dropped passes.
The lack of helter-skelter certainly allowed Namibia to keep the score down by keeping their defensive pattern strong. They tackled and pushed and contested all day long. On the look of it, they are a better team than in previous Cups. Good on them, and keep going with that.
The problem, of course, is how to assess how the All Blacks are travelling. The overall impression is depth. Codie Taylor looks good in Black, Tawera Kerr-Barlow got a run, Barrett and Slade interchanged between first-five and fullback and kicking duties without problem, SBW gave enough video to give headaches to other teams, the bench slotted in without disruption.
As a spectacle, it was t00 much stop-start nonsense, not helped by the officials faffing around, especially in the second half. Get out of it, you fools.