The All Blacks thrilled rugby fans and pundits once again in their 71-9 thrashing of Namibia. But it was far from a perfect performance from reigning world champions. Here's how the world media reacted to the Pool B matchup.

All Blacks obliterate gutsy Namibia in 11-try rout after a clumsy first-half performance - by Daniel Schofield of The Telegraph

"Move aside Uruguay and Japan, all hail Namibia. Ignore the final score, this was the guttiest performance in the World Cup of underdogs.

"For 185 glorious seconds Namibia led New Zealand. With five minutes remaining in the first half, the world champions were only leading by a point with scrum half Damian Stevens kicking three penalties for Namibia. The All Blacks, the all-conquering demi-gods, were rattled, frequently forced to scramble in defence and made to look all too mortal by a squad of farmers, accountants and just seven professional players."


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All Blacks fall behind before brushing aside brave Namibia at Rugby World Cup - by Robert Kitson of The Guardian

"Not every inflated Rugby World Cup scoreline tells the full story and this was a prime example. New Zealand finished up with 11 tries and a comfortable-looking victory but the final margin did scant justice to the efforts of a spirited Namibia side who, for 35 minutes, proved more than a match for their illustrious opponents.

"It even caused Steve Hansen to suggest afterwards his players "didn't turn up with the right attitude" in the first half before order was restored with a torrent of 47 unanswered second-half points. Until the game's final score, a spectacular try finished in the left corner by TJ Perenara following a reverse pass from his energetic fellow replacement Brad Weber, it was Namibia who provided much of the entertainment.

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"Sadly for the romantics it could not last indefinitely. Despite a four-day turnaround, two props, Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tu'ungafasi, being shown yellow cards for clumsy challenges and the returning Brodie Retallick lasting just 30 minutes, the All Blacks remain the most ruthless team in the world at picking off tiring opposition. A try apiece from the replacement Angus Ta'avao and the full-back Ben Smith, added to earlier scores from Sevu Reece and Anton Lienert-Brown, put them 24-9 ahead at the interval and thereafter it was one-way traffic."

All Blacks put on second-half clinic to sink brave Namibia - by Richard Parkin of The Guardian

"It's a testament to how much any individual man with a thumping heart can play above themselves. Helarius Kisting - the player who until recently was still an amateur, before moving to Romania to chase his passion, cutting down a flying Jordie Barrett - 20kg+ his superior - with a courageous tackle. And yet the All Blacks came, and came again, and like the big bad wolf of the fairytales, eventually blew Namibia's house down.

"It was a tough, rugged, brave first thirty from the African minnows. More than that, though, it was disciplined, and it was smart. Carrying with ball-in-hand, not playing into the All Blacks hands by allowing flowing counter attacks. They earned good field position, and they took their points on offer. At 10-9 for just a glimmer, perhaps they even dared to dream.

"But 80 minutes is an age in professional rugby. Ask even tier one nations who hit 50 or 60 minutes against the All Blacks and still think they're in it (*coughs* Australia) ... Today Namibia managed 35-40 minutes. Next time, maybe they'll dream of 50. That's the mission, that's the goal, and it's why aspiring nations pit themselves against the best in the world ... For their part, the ABs were uncharacteristically sloppy at times in the first half. Kicks into touch on the full, balls put to ground, and men yellow-carded for high shots."

Patrick McKendry and Gregor Paul review yesterday's All Blacks RWC pool match against Namibia. Video / Mark Mitchell

All Blacks beat Namibia 71-9 in pool clash - Fox Sports Australia

"An experimental New Zealand side recovered from a sticky start and two yellow cards to hammer Namibia 71-9 and move one step closer to finishing top of their pool at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

"Namibia battled to within a point at 10-9 after half an hour before the two-time defending champions accelerated away to eclipse their 58-14 victory over the Welwitschias at the 2015 World Cup.

"The All Blacks were finding it hard going against the physical Namibians, who twice worked their way up field and won a pair of penalties which Stevens knocked over to take them to only 10-9 down after half-an-hour.

"All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Stevens, and Brodie Retallick's comeback after a dislocated shoulder lasted just 30 minutes as there were uncomfortable moments for the world champions."

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick tackled. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick tackled. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Stand-in flyhalf Barrett leads All Blacks' rout of Namibia - Foster Niumata of AP

"Given the keys to the All Blacks machine, first-time flyhalf Jordie Barrett stalled it a couple of times.

"Barrett stayed positive, though, refocused, respected the ball, and ultimately drove the world's No. 1-ranked rugby team smoothly and superbly.

"Much like Barrett, New Zealand sputtered for a while then started purring, and put Namibia's amateurs in their place in the Rugby World Cup by a 71-9 scoreline on Sunday.

"It was competitive for a while. The Namibians were closer to full strength eight days after conceding 57 to South Africa, and gave New Zealand some bother in the first half. Their plan to play "boring rugby" by keeping the ball effectively frustrated the All Blacks, and their gang-tackling forced errors from the impatient defending champions."

All Blacks win to go top of Rugby World Cup Pool B - Mike Henson of the BBC

"World champions New Zealand stretched out to a comprehensive 62-point winning margin over lowly Namibia, but only after the underdogs had held them up with a brave first-half display.

"With 35 minutes gone, Namibia, ranked 23rd in the world, were within one point of the three-time winners ... But the All Blacks were in clinical mood in the second half, finishing with 11 tries.

"Pre-match expectations of a New Zealand rout were initially confounded as Namibia, the lowest-ranked side in the tournament, showed no sign of being awed by the prospect of taking on the world number one side.

"As well as a fast defensive line and a determination to get involved in the breakdown, Namibia showed some slick hands and incisive lines to make regular incursions into the All Blacks defence."

Helarius Axasman Kisting of Namibia is consoled by Rieko Ioane of New Zealand. Photo / Getty
Helarius Axasman Kisting of Namibia is consoled by Rieko Ioane of New Zealand. Photo / Getty

New Zealand overcome early struggles to beat Namibia easily - by Joel Fitzpatrick of Kyodo News

"For about 30 minutes on Sunday, Namibia looked very much New Zealand's equal, the African nation that has yet to win at the Rugby World Cup giving as good as they got until the inevitable talent gap allowed the Kiwis to run away with a 71-9 win.

"Namibia led the game early at Tokyo Stadium (Ajinomoto Stadium) for approximately three minutes and were a try-saving tackle away from going in front again in the 13th minute ... The Welwitschias cut the deficit to just four with a 25th minute penalty and then to one with another kick four minutes later, despite having already given up two tries.

"From that point on, however, New Zealand's class emerged and the All Blacks finished out the first half with two more tries, one to and the other to Ben Smith, to take the lead to 15 despite losing Nepo Laulala to a yellow card for a high tackle."

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