Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 20 News List

New Zealand dominate France in 62-13 win

AFP, CARDIFF

New Zealand’s Julian Savea runs to score a try in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final match against France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Julian Savea scored a bulldozing hat-trick as New Zealand delivered a record-setting rugby masterclass to rout France 62-13 and set up a World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

The Springboks earlier had a tougher time getting past Wales, with captain Fourie du Preez touching down with five minutes left to snatch a 23-19 win at Twickenham.

New Zealand went into their match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium facing romantic hopes from their rivals that France could pull off a repeat of their upset last-eight win over the All Blacks in the same stadium in 2007.

However, the defending champions dominated from the first kick and set a new record for points scored and the winning margin in a World Cup quarter-final.

They scored nine tries in all and France were so battered by the All Black tsunami that they did not manage a point in the second half. Louis Picamoles got their only try in the first half.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw declared himself “very proud” of the performance.

“We were very clinical,” he said, highlighting how the All Blacks had piled on the pressure from the start.

In addition to Savea’s triple, Tawera Kerr-Barlow touched down twice and Nehe Milner-Skudder, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read also crossed. Dan Carter added 17 points from the boot.

Savea is now the tournament’s leading try scorer with eight.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said he was impatient to play the semi-final against South Africa.

“We can’t wait,” he said. “We are playing against great opposition in South Africa, they are a great team.”

However, Hansen added a warning: “Unless we bring the same intensity and the same edge that we had this week to the next contest then our opponents will take advantage. And even if we do, it may not be good enough.”

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre was booed by his country’s fans at the end of his last game in charge of the team.

He said he accepted “a large part” of the blame for the defeat, which French media quickly condemned as a “fiasco.”

Saint-Andre called the All Blacks “the Brazilians of rugby” because of their sublime skills.

The day’s other quarter-final could not have been more different.

With Wales leading 19-18 and just five minutes left, South Africa captain du Preez picked up a sublime Duane Vermeulen backhand pass and drove through to the corner to touchdown.

In a dramatic ding-dong battle, the lead changed hands five times after Handre Pollard kicked the first penalty for South Africa and before Du Preez snatched victory.

“The whole game from minute one was on a knife-edge,” man-of-the-match Schalk Burger said. “We obviously knew that this game was going to be won in the last 10 minutes.”

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who had to apologize to the nation after South Africa’s sensational 34-32 loss to Japan in their opening pool match, said he wanted to “kiss” du Preez.

“He is a tactical genius. He came up with that move and the try was pure genius,” the coach added.

The Springboks had proved they can win under pressure, he added.

“If you put pressure on charcoal, it turns to diamonds,” Meyer said.

Wales coach Warren Gatland was disconsolate.

“The players emptied the tank. Unfortunately, we weren’t good enough to hold on for the full 80 minutes,” he added.

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