Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

All Blacks win, Namibia target next two games

AFP, LONDON

Namibia’s Johan Deysel, left, celebrates after scoring a try during their Pool C Rugby World Cup game against New Zealand at the Olympic Stadium in London on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

The All Blacks struggled to put a gloss on a 58-14 World Cup win over a Namibia team who rely on farmers, engineers and even a currency trader for their brawn.

The African minnows — roared on by a packed London Olympic Stadium — were delighted just to see Johan Deysel score a try in their first match against the world’s No. 1 team.

The All Blacks crashed over nine tries, but coach Steve Hansen left frustrated.

The Pool C game was always going to be lopsided affair. Namibia are the lowest-ranked team at the 20-nation World Cup.

However, Hansen was hoping to give his players who missed their opening win against Argentina a chance to settle into the World Cup. Instead he saw a side play fluid rugby at times and then fall apart and let Namibia, a team with as many amateurs as professionals, win periods of the match.

“It’s very hard to play rugby when you get a stop-start game like that, so you get frustrated,” Hansen said.

The All Blacks led 34-6 at halftime before a fractured second half.

“We’ve got to deal with it better than we dealt with it tonight,” Hansen said of the multiple stoppages. “It is difficult. Every time you had a scrum, I think at one stage we spent about four minutes [with no play] and that’s not what the game wants.”

“I don’t know how to fix it, but that’s what happens sometimes when you get an opposition that’s struggling to stay up,” he said.

Sam Cane, skippering the All Blacks for the first time with Richie McCaw on the bench, said he felt powerless as a loose forward to speed the game up when the problems appeared to be in the front rows.

“You speak to the ref to hurry things up as best he can, but some of those dark arts in the scrum I don’t know a lot about myself so it was a little frustrating,” Cane said.

Namibia were delighted even though they have now gone 16 games in five World Cups without registering a win.

Captain Jacques Burger said a win could come against Tonga or Georgia, their next opponents before finishing against Argentina.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result, but happy with a lot of things in the match,” Burger said. “We fought well and I’m proud of the boys. Going into the next match, we can take a lot.”

“All is not lost and our aim is still to win one game at the World Cup and we’re on track,” Burger said, adding he had hoped his side, heavily reliant on amateurs such as flanker Tinus du Plessis, a currency broker, could hold the defending champions to less than 50 points, but considered the scoreline as not as important as the “small victories” in the match.

Namibia’s try came when Deysel crossed the line after they turned down a simple penalty shot at goal and opted for a lineout to pressure the All Blacks.

Saracens flanker Burger said the improvement showed Namibia commanded respect.

“We know we can score against the best in the world and we’ll have to keep that positive vibe,” he said, adding they now had Georgia and Tonga in their sights. “Realistically the next two games will be the ones we have to target.”

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