RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Friday, 25 September 05:00am
On paper this should be the most one-sided match of the tournament as the reigning world champions and number one ranked side take on the lowest ranked team in the competition. For the All Blacks it’s just a four day turnaround from their hard-fought opening victory over Los Pumas. With this in mind, Steve Hansen has rested many of his star names so fatigue shouldn’t come into the equation.
Namibia have a rather unflattering P15-L15 record at World Cups suffering some humbling results along the way, most notably the record-breaking 142-0 obliteration against Australia back in 2003. The only other time they’ve taken on a southern hemisphere Big Three side was a 0-87 thumping against The Boks in 2011, so it doesn’t bode well coming into this fixture. However, both of those thrashings took place three games into the tournament after taking on physical sides previously – Argentina and Ireland in 2003, Fiji and Samoa in 2011.
The Namibians have given some of their better performances when fresh. They’ve never lost by more than 53 points in their World Cup opener as they’ve faced the likes of Argentina and Fiji and they put in a fine effort against Ireland in 2007 going down by a respectable score line of 17-32. With many of their squad having never played opposition of this calibre before they will no doubt look to their captain Jacques Burger for inspiration. The Saracens flanker is their one genuine world-class star and was voted one of the five best players of the tournament in 2011, despite being on the losing side in all four games.
New Zealand have never been troubled by a minnow at a World Cup. Over the last three editions they have faced Canada, Japan, Romania and Portugal and inflicted heavy defeats each time. Interestingly, however, only one of those victories was by more than 78 points and that came against Portugal (a team ranked lower than Namibia).
Having never met previously, Namibia will be in for a shock against the All Blacks but with New Zealand’s squad rotation and Namibia’s freshness we are happy to back them on the handicap.
- New Zealand are unbeaten in the pool stages in World Cup history.
- In the last three World Cups, New Zealand have an average winning score of 86-9 against the weakest opponents in the pool.
- These two sides have never met before
- Namibia have never won a World Cup match