New Zealand thrashed Uruguay by 11 tries to secure their place in the World Cup quarterfinals. In Lyon, Leicester Fainga’anuku scored a hat-trick in the second half while Damian McKenzie and Will Jordan both scored twice. Along with Tamaiti Williams, Richie Mo’unga, Cam Roigard, Fletcher Newell, and other subs all scored. If France wins its match against Italy on Friday and takes first place in Pool A, New Zealand will come in second.
In the round of eight, the All Blacks will either face Scotland or Ireland, who will clash on Saturday in Paris, or the reigning champions South Africa. After dominating for long stretches against France and Italy before coming back against Namibia in the second half, Uruguay leaves the competition with their heads held high. They suffered their biggest defeat in the pool against New Zealand.
Even though two of New Zealand’s scores were cancelled out in the first period, Uruguay, who are rated 17th overall, offered everything they had. After the Uruguayan winger Gaston Mieres had spectacularly torched Fainga’anuku on the outside, flanker Manuel Ardao came dangerously close to giving the South Americans the lead until Anton Lienert-Brown drove him into touch. After a five-metre scrum, McKenzie slid over to put the All Blacks on the board in the 20th minute. Five minutes later, Mo’unga scored his second goal in a similar manner, and just over the halfway point, Jordan crossed the goal line following an incredible McKenzie flip infield from the touchline. The All Blacks led 26-0 at halftime after Roigard, starting his second Test match, scored the game’s crucial fourth try to earn the bonus point.
Two Time Champions
Under Ian Foster, the two-time champions of the competition were in their best form before to the competition and went into their final exhibition match against the Springboks as one of the favourites to win the World Cup. But before France defeated them 27-13 in a thrilling World Cup opening, South Africa handed the All Blacks their worst defeat in team history.
The rugby community was cautioned not to write off New Zealand just yet, though, after their 14 tries and 96 points last week against Italy.
Match Player McKenzie
Because of a tenacious Uruguayan defence, they did not get off to the same rousing start before McKenzie injected life into the attack. The presence of fly-half Mo’unga and full-back Beauden Barrett has made it difficult for the utility back, who scored 26 points in the win over Namibia, to earn a regular starting position under Foster. When Jordan scored New Zealand’s third try, McKenzie scored the first try and then displayed pure magic when he re gathered his own grubber kick and flicked the ball back infield with one hand. In the second period, McKenzie scored again as Uruguay’s defence battled to contain the relentless New Zealand attack.
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