New Zealand v Namibia - Teams and Prediction
WORLD CUP, ROUND TWO: New Zealand’s bid to bounce back following their opening World Cup defeat to France will be accompanied by a gigantic task for Allister Coetzee’s Namibia side.
The two teams will go head to head in the Stadium de Toulouse on Friday.
The All Blacks suffered their first World Cup pool match in history when they went down 13-27 to France last week. Still reeling from the historic defeat, Ian Foster’s men will be out to record a resounding victory over the Pool A minnows.
Foster has made wholesale changes for the clash against the Africans.
Lock Samuel Whitelock has been named for what will be his 148th All Blacks Test, equalling Richie McCaw as the most-capped player in the team’s history.
Only Alun Wyn Jones of Wales, with 171, has made more international appearances than Whitelock and McCaw.
Damian McKenzie, Cam Roigard, Caleb Clarke and Leicester Fainga’anuku will make their respective World Cup debuts in a match the All Blacks are favourites to win.
“We had a plan on how we want to approach this and we have had to adapt that based on injuries and who is coming back but we are pretty satisfied that we have to rebound from round one,” Foster said when asked about his team selection.
“It is a key game for us to get right and we’ve selected accordingly.”
No Foster ‘experiments’
The coach refutes talks of using the Namibia match to ‘experiment’ with his team selections.
“We certainly have got a couple of areas we really want to focus on and I’m probably not going to share what they are just yet,” Foster said.
“You have to make sure you grow your game. You’ve got to get your performance right and be forward-looking.”
“However I will not use the word experiment.”
Stand-in captain Ardie Savea said he expects a really physical battle from the African nation.
“Obviously we have a game plan that we want to do this week. I like the guys to go out there and do their job, and express themselves, but also it is an opportunity to really bounce back.
“[Namibia is] physical.
“They have big men who don’t stop, they just run downhill. That is something we have identified as a team and defence as one of their strengths.”
Coetzee hopes for better
At the back of an 8-52 defeat to Italy, Namibia heads into the clash as the clear underdog.
The defeat to Italy was their 23rd straight loss at the World Cup. The only game they have not lost was an encounter with Canada four years ago, cancelled because of a typhoon.
Coetzee admitted the team’s set-piece and discipline let them down but is hopeful his side will produce a much better performance against the tough All Black side.
“The Italy game was a big challenge for us, especially in the set-piece,” Coetzee said, adding: “Hopefully it will be better.
“We conceded too many penalties. We have to make sure that our discipline is better against top-tier teams. We were in the game up until half-time. We conceded at the end of the game.
“We have to throw more punches. We have got a plan and hopefully, when the pressure is on, the players will stick to it. It will be a challenge but it is one day to be ready for.”
“New Zealand is a top nation. Our plan is to stop the momentum and break their rhythm. We have learnt lessons against Italy. I am happy with the intensity, and energy of my players. Fortunately, we have no big injuries.”
Coetzee added: “New Zealand is taking this game seriously.
“It is good for the competition. It is a great opportunity for our players and we are excited to play against them.”
The All Blacks and Namibia have played each other twice before, with both fixtures having taken place at the World Cup: New Zealand ran out 58-14 winners in 2015 and 71-9 victors four years ago in Japan.
Players to watch:
For New Zealand: A lot of eyes will be Damian McKenzie, Cam Roigard, Caleb Clarke and Leicester Fainga’anuku, who will get their first World Cup starts in the All Blacks jersey. Flyhalf McKenzie is an incredible playmaker and will have a chance to prove what he can do on the World Cup stage. McKenzie partners with livewire scrumhalf Cam Roigard. Clark is another game-changer, his strong run out wide can be lethal. It will be interesting to see how David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown combine in the midfield. While Ardie Savea always adds physicality, the question still remains whether he is the right man to lead the team. Meanwhile, the second-row partnership of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Rattalick will want to perform as they extend their world record as a starting lock combination to 66 Tests.
For Namibia: Flyhalf Tiaan Swanepoel showed his class last week as he generated much of their attack against Italy with a team-high two linebreak assists and one try assist. Wing Gerswin Mouton can be a handful on the attack. He managed to keep the Italian’s defenders really busy and would want to back that performance with another noteworthy display. No.8 Richard Hardwick is a very industrious loose forward and his battle with Ardie Savea will be an intriguing encounter. Hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, who is currently playing for Bayonne in the Top 14, is a workhorse and would be out to make up for last week’s yellow card against Italy.
@rugby365com: New Zealand by 55 points
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Tupou Vaa’i, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Rieko Ioane
Namibia: 15 Cliven Loubser, 14 Gerswin Mouton, 13 Johan Deysel (captain), 12 Le Roux Malan, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Damian Stevens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Prince Gaoseb , 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Jason Benade.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Desiderius Sethie, 18 Haitembu Shifuka, 19 19 PJ Van Lill, 20 Adriaan Booysen, 21 Max Katjijeko, 22 Jacques Theron, 23 JC Greyling
Date: Friday, September 15
Venue: Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT, 21.00 CAT, 07.00 Saturday September 17 NZST)
Expected weather: It will be clear and sunny with a temperature of around 29°C.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
*Additional Source: AFP & @WorldRugby