All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has described the two yellow cards to props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi as "fair" but spoke too of the difficulty of players abiding by the strict focus on high tackles at this World Cup.

Laulala was sin-binned near the end of the first half of his side's 71-9 victory over Namibia at Tokyo Stadium and Tuungafasi about 40 minutes later. Both appeared accidental, but Laulala's on falling wing Lesley Klim appeared the worse of the two.

Premium gold

"I think the two yellow cards were fair under the guidelines we've got but it is tough," Hansen said.

"When a player is falling like that and you're committed there are going to be times when you make a connection and I'm not sure how you avoid that because if you don't use your arms then you're going to be done for a no-arms tackle. It is very difficult.

Advertisement

"I think that's why they've allowed the mitigating circumstances and it only becomes a yellow card. But it is difficult at the moment. The powers that be have asked us to tidy it up and I think each team is doing their best but the circumstances are just about unavoidable and unfortunately, that's just where our game is at the moment."

READ MORE:
World media react to All Blacks' win over Namibia
Steve Hansen's halftime spray to All Blacks revealed
Financial boffins back All Blacks for Rugby World Cup ecstasy

The victory puts the All Blacks on top of Pool B with a match to come against Italy next Saturday, but Hansen was also a little unhappy with his team's attitude in the first half. Namibia had closed the gap to 10-9 after 30 minutes before the All Blacks powered away after the break, scoring several spectacular tries of which TJ Perenara's was easily the best.

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

"I thought there was a lot of entertainment in the game and a lot of great tries scored," Hansen said. "I thought Namibia did well too.

"In the first half we probably didn't turn up with the right attitude and we allowed Nambia to partake more than they should have. And that's not being disrespectful to Namibia."

When the switch was flicked the rugby was outstanding at times from the defending champions, with Hansen particularly pleased with stand-in first-five Jordie Barrett. Brodie Retallick got 30 minutes and will likely play an hour against Italy and there were no serious injuries.

All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala gets a yellow card. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala gets a yellow card. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"He's pretty elated I think," Hansen said of Barrett, whom he described as "outstanding". "He's had another 80 minutes in an All Black jersey. He's excited and happy with how he played. He did the job that Ian Foster and I wanted him to do; he drove the team around the park.

"His goalkicking after his first two misses was pretty immaculate. It's certainly not his number one position so to be able to play like he did there … he should be thrilled."

Advertisement

Hansen added of Perenara's try in the left corner: "That try at the end was a special one. It even got me out of my seat and not many things make me do that."

"We tried to focus on our game because if we focused on them there would be a lot to take in," Namibia skipper Johan Deysel said of the All Blacks. "In the first half I thought we were pretty good, we made a few line breaks. In the second half, we lost a bit of momentum. It's always an honour and privilege to play against them."

Asked about Perenara's try, Namibia coach Phil Davies said: "I was off my seat, actually."