By Liam Napier in Tokyo

Halfbacks are yappy characters at the best of times but TJ Perenara and Brad Weber have good reason to puff out their chests after combining for one of the great Rugby World Cup tries.

The All Blacks scored 11 tries in their 71-9 romp over Namibia at Tokyo Stadium – seven of them in the second half after struggling to shake off a spirited Namibian side in the first.

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The final try, finished in the corner with a full-length dive from Perenara after a spectacular behind-the-back flick ball from Weber, will live long in the memory.


It's these plays that make the All Blacks the great entertainers of world rugby.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and counterpart Phil Davies said they were out of their seats watching Rieko Ioane offload to Brad Weber, who shaped to the right and flicked the ball left which created just enough room for Perenara to finish the stunning movement.

NRL wingers have perfected the art of scoring similar tries but Perenara was asked post match whether he felt like Michael Jordan flying through the air.

TJ Perenara produces some magic to touch the ball down and score. Photo / Mark Mitchell
TJ Perenara produces some magic to touch the ball down and score. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes, probably top three in my opinion, of all time," Perenara said. "I don't think scoring a try like that will ever compare to what he did.

"Having Webby out there and the speed he has and being able to set me up was pretty cool. I actually said to him if it was the other way around, and I was passing the ball to him, he probably runs it under the sticks he's that quick.

"I knew I had the ball down but I thought my feet were out to be honest. Their 10 made a good tackle on me and I tried to keep my feet in the air."

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles knows Perenara well, the pair sharing the captaincy duties at the Hurricanes, and he joked about the stories his good mate could now tell.

"I was hoping it would be a no try with that guy getting it," Coles said. "It was classic TJ to pull something like that out. I'm sure we won't be hearing the end of it, that's for sure."


Two halfbacks on the field at the same time is a rare occurrence. It only came about in this match with Perenara slotting in at No 10 after Jordie Barrett shifted to the wing.

Their combination was not lost on All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster.

"I think it was probably our fault as coaches for having two nines on together so mayhem was always going to happen," Foster said.

"I take my hat off to them. TJ made some really good decisions and Brad had a special moment with that pass.

"Obviously the scoreboard allowed them to express themselves the way they wanted and they got away with it."

All Blacks centre Jack Goodhue also expected to hear plenty more from his halfbacks.

"He'll be calling it a Weber," Goodhue said of the pass. "I didn't know Brad Weber had that kind of razzle in him. It looked very good, and then TJ with the finish I didn't know he had that in him. It was good to finish on that."