Rugby | New Zealand beat Namibia by 62 points to go top

New Zealand have beaten Namibia 71-9 to go top of Pool B.

The All Blacks scored 11 tries in their 62-point win, but Namibia were within touching distance of the reigning champions after 35 minutes.

Steve Hansen’s men will now top Pool B if they beat Italy in their final group match, setting up a clash against the runners-up of Pool A (one of Ireland, Scotland or Japan).

It was overwhelming underdogs Namibia – who are ranked 23rd in the world – who took an early lead at Ajinomoto Stadium.

Damian Stevens kicked a penalty in the second minute, but New Zealand hit back three minutes later.

Sevu Reece caught Jordie Barrett’s crossfield kick wide on the right and crossed the whitewash to record the All Blacks’ first try.

Anton Lienert-Brown added another try in the 20th minute when he raced clear of the Namibia defence, giving the world champions a 10-3 lead.

However, two penalties in five minutes from scrum-half Stevens drew Namibia to within a point of the All Blacks after half an hour.

New Zealand prop Nepo Laulala was then shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on JC Grayling, reducing Hansen’s side to 14 men.

Angus Ta’avao went over between the posts to register New Zealand’s third try five minutes before the interval, with Barrett adding a conversion.

The All Blacks sealed a bonus point in the dying seconds of the first half when Ben Smith drove over the line following a five-metre scrum. Barrett added his second conversion to make it 24-9 at half time.

New Zealand ran riot in the second half, notching seven further tries as Namibia’s resolve wilted.

Joe Moody pounced to score the Kiwis’ fifth try a minute into the second half following another strong scrum, and Lienert-Brown scored his second try five minutes later.

Reece doubled his tally soon afterwards, before Samuel Whitelock got in on the act in the 55th minute.

Smith powered over in the corner for his second try 13 minutes before the end, with Barrett subsequently adding his seventh conversion of the game.

Ofa Tuungafasi’s reckless swinging arm cost him a trip to the sin bin in the 72nd minute, but it did little to halt the New Zealand charge.

Barrett scored try number 10 folowing a New Zealand lineout, before TJ Perenara and Brad Weber exchanged some wonderful passes, with the former crossing the line – evading several desperate tackles on the way – for New Zealand’s 11th and final try.

The All Blacks will take some stopping.