Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea scored two tries each as the All Blacks eased to a 58-14 win over Namibia at London's Olympic Stadium. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The All Blacks had the bonus-point try wrapped up in the first half as they opened up a 34-6 lead with hardly raising a sweat.
Although coach Steve Hansen had made a total of 12 changes to New Zealand’s starting lineup for this match, they were never going to be troubled by Namibia, who simply had no answer to the All Blacks’ pace and power.
Victor Vito and Milner-Skudder both scored within the opening 10 minutes – an early sign of things to come – while Malakai Fekitoa and Beauden Barrett then dotted down to bag the bonus point by the 31st minute.
Milner-Skudder got his second try with the final play in the first half, while Savea also added his name to the scoresheet soon after the restart.
To Namibia’s credit, though, they never looked like giving up, and a deserved try was finished off by centre Johan Deysel in the 51st minute, earning the biggest roar of the night from the crowd.
It was only temporary reprieve for the minnows as replacement Ben Smith went over for the All Blacks’ seventh try around the hour mark at a time when Namibia prop Jaco Engels was in the sin bin.
The final half an hour of the encounter degenerated into a dreary affair, though, as Namibia did their best to slow down play with a host of substitutions, while the scrums became an absolute mess with reset after reset.
Yet in the final 10 minutes Savea would score his second try, while hooker Codie Taylor also went over as the All Blacks wrapped up a comfortable victory.
All Blacks – Tries: Victor Vito, Nehe Milner-Skudder (2), Beauden Barrett, Malakai Fekitoa, Julian Savea (2), Ben Smith, Codie Taylor. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5). Penalty: Barrett.
Namibia – Try: Johan Deysel. Penalties: Theuns Kotzé (3).
All Blacks – 15 Colin Slade, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Tony Woodcock, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Ma'a Nonu, 23 Ben Smith.
Namibia – 15 Johan Tromp, 14 David Philander, 13 JC Greyling, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Conrad Marais, 10 Theuns Kotzé, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Leneve Damens, 7 Tinus du Plessis, 6 Jacques Burger (c), 5 Pieter-Jan van Lill, 4 Tjiuee Uanivi, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Jaco Engels.
Subs: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Casper Viviers, 18 Raoul Larson, 19 Renaldo Bothma, 20 Janco Venter, 21 Rohan Kitshoff, 22 Eneill Buitendag, 23 Chrysander Botha.
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images