Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, October 10, 2015
NEWCASTLE---New Zealand pulled
away in the last half-hour to cruise
to a 47-9 win over Tonga yesterday,
but headed into the Rugby World Cup
quarterfinals without a complete 80-
minute performance in the pool
Tonga was only 14-6 behind and
causing problems for the All Blacks
before momentum swung when
winger Nehe Milner-Skudder crossed
in the 53rd minute for the first of his
two tries at St. James Park.
New Zealand scored five tries in the
second half---and seven in total---for
a fourth straight win to top Pool C.
Fittingly, the last try was scored by
center Ma a Nonu on his 100th
appearance in the iconic black jersey.
There s plenty of room for improve-
ment for the defending champions,
though, after a first half when their
scrum was pushed around and their
handling was sloppy. New Zealand
also appeared vulnerable at stages in
its first three wins, over Argentina,
Namibia, and Georgia.
"We ve had to work hard through
the pool stage and that hasn t been a
bad thing for us," Hansen said. "We
had a plan and we stuck to that plan.
Now we have to wait to see if it works."
The All Blacks will play either France
or Ireland in the quarterfinals. Hansen
said he didn t care which team it was.
"How you are playing at the
moment means nothing," Hansen said.
"What s happening now isn t relevant.
What happens next week, will be."
The Tongans exited the tournament
with just one win in the pool---and
with a fifth straight loss to the All
Blacks---and their fourth-place finish
means they will have to qualify
for the 2019 World Cup. But they rat-
tled their illustrious opponents
New Zealand s scrum gave away
four first-half penalties---including
two when they packed down with
seven men after captain Kieran Read s
yellow card---and their error count
was high. Winger Waisake Naholo
spilled the ball from Dan Carter s pass
when faced with a 3-on-1 in the left
The Tongans also found some joy
with breaks through flimsy New
Zealand defense close to the ruck. At
halftime, the Tongans enjoyed more
territory (55 percent), needed to make
fewer tackles, earned more penalties,
and had an extra man on the field ---
but still found themselves 14-3 down.
This New Zealand team will never
lose its ruthless edge, though, and the
first try by fullback Ben Smith was
clinical, with great handling from Mil-
ner-Skudder, Sam Cane, and Conrad
Smith in a narrow channel from a
Prop Tony Woodcock s try was at
the other end of the scale, the prop
barging over from close range after a
delayed pass from scrumhalf Aaron
Smith. Woodcock went off in the 43rd
minute with an injured right ham-
string, which could spell the end of
his career after 118 tests.
Tonga s only first-half points came
from Kurt Morath s penalty, but the
Pacific Islanders should have added
more in the final minutes after Read
was sin-binned for bringing down a
driving maul. Four scrums followed
near the tryline---the All Blacks were
penalized at two of them --- but no
penalty try was awarded.
Morath cut the lead to 14-6 with
a 49th-minute penalty, but two tries
from Milner-Skudder hit the Tongans
hard. He barged through opposite
winger Fetu u Vainikolo for his first,
then ran onto Beauden Barrett s grub-
ber kick to ground in the opposite cor-
ner.After that, it was a procession as
Tonga tired and the All Blacks bench
rammed home the advantage.
Sonny Bill Williams and Cane
touched down and Nonu was on the
shoulder of Milner-Skudder to com-
plete the scoring with four minutes
Nonu s try was the only one that
Carter didn t convert.
The result lifted Argentina into the
quarterfinals, and confirmed Georgia
as third in the pool and an automatic
qualifier for the 2019 World Cup. (AP)
New Zealand scores 7 tries
New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu is tackled by the Tonga defence during the
Rugby World Cup Pool C match between New Zealand and Tonga at St
James' Park, Newcastle, England, yesterday. New Zealand won 47-9.
...Tonga beaten 47-9 at World Cup
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