Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand v Namibia

By Sports Desk October 04, 2019

Steve Hansen says Jordie Barrett has the "swagger" to "boss the game" at fly-half when New Zealand face Namibia in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

Barrett will don the famous All Blacks number 10 jersey for the first time in the Pool B encounter at Tokyo Stadium, where the defending champions should claim a bonus-point win to go top of Pool B and put one foot in the quarter-finals.

All three Barrett brothers scored tries in a 63-0 battering of Canada on Wednesday, making history by becoming the first siblings to play in the same New Zealand side at a World Cup.

Youngest brother Jordie has played as a full-back, centre and wing at international level, and New Zealand head coach Hansen says he can thrive as a makeshift fly-half in a much-changed side that will be captained by Sam Whitelock.

"I don't see him playing too often at 10," Hansen said. "But in the circumstances we've got, someone had to do it and he's our best choice.

"He's a back-three player, I think. As he gets older, he may end up in the midfield, but for me, he's a got a skillset ideally suited to the back three - he's got a big boot, he's good under the high ball, he's brave on the chase and he's got good handling skills.

"He's got plenty of swagger. That boy is not short of it. But I don't think you can mistake swagger or confidence for arrogance. He's not an arrogant boy, he's a humble kid.

"He'll be looking forward to it. I know he's excited by the challenge and he'll boss the game, because that's how he plays."

Fit-again lock Brodie Retallick will make his first appearance of the tournament for the holders.

Centre Johan Deysel returns to the starting line-up to lead a Namibia team which shows nine changes after the 57-3 thumping by South Africa.

First-choice fly-half Cliven Loubser plays no part as a result of an ankle injury suffered against the Springboks, so TC Kisting comes in at number 10.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Zealand - Brodie Retallick

Retallick returns ahead of schedule after a 10-week absence caused by a dislocated left shoulder. Hansen says he has been "counting down the days" for what is set to be a short comeback, with an eye on making a bigger impact later in the tournament.

Namibia - Johan Deysel

Centre Deysel recovered from a shoulder injury to come off the bench against South Africa and the centre will want to make his presence felt in midfield, with fond memories of scoring against New Zealand in the last World Cup.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- New Zealand have won their last 16 World Cup matches, the longest run of victories by any side in the history of the tournament.

- Namibia have played the most World Cup matches of any side yet to win a match at the tournament, losing each of their 21 fixtures.

- The All Blacks have won 13 of the 32 World Cup matches that have been won by 60 points or more, after their drubbing of Canada.

- The two nations have met in just one Test, that clash coming at the Olympic Stadium in London at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with the All Blacks winning 58-14.

Related items

  • Ulster 18-13 Clermont Auvergne: Cooney stars as Pro14 side prevail at home Ulster 18-13 Clermont Auvergne: Cooney stars as Pro14 side prevail at home

    John Cooney scored 13 points, including a superb second-half try, to help Ulster record a hard-fought 18-13 European Champions Cup win over Clermont Auvergne on Friday.

    The Pro14 side went ahead inside the opening minute with a penalty, setting the tone for an impressive first-half performance that saw Jordi Murphy cross following a rolling maul at a line-out.

    Cooney added the conversion as well as a further penalty before the break, with the only response from Clermont coming from the boot of Greig Laidlaw, making it 13-3 at the midway stage of the contest.

    Scotland international Laidlaw landed a second penalty to cut the gap only for Ulster to reply with a try from Cooney that saw the scrum-half hack on his own kick over the top before diving on the loose ball.

    Clermont made it a nervy finish by forcing a penalty try with nine minutes remaining, though they were forced to settle for a losing bonus point. Ulster, meanwhile, top Pool 3 after recording back-to-back triumphs in Europe.

  • England wing Joe Cokanasiga sidelined by knee injury England wing Joe Cokanasiga sidelined by knee injury

    Bath will seek specialist help to aid Joe Cokanasiga's recovery after the England international returned from the Rugby World Cup with a knee injury.

    The Premiership club released a statement on Friday that said Cokanasiga will be "unable to begin a competitive campaign for the club", with no scheduled time announced for the wing's return to action.

    "In order to provide Joe the best possible management plan and rehabilitation process, Bath's medical department are enlisting the services of world-leading specialists to ensure expert opinion is considered to deliver an optimal pathway to recovery," the statement read.

    "The club's priority is to maximise his chances to perform at the very highest level."

    The 22-year-old has won nine caps for England and played once at the World Cup, scoring two tries in the 45-7 win over the United States.

    As well as Cokanasiga, Bath will also send Zach Mercer to see a specialist to discover the extent of the knee issue he suffered during the European Champions Cup game against Ulster.

    Henry Thomas, meanwhile, will miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

    "Joe is a phenomenal talent and a powerful athlete, and we must manage him very carefully in the coming months to allow for the issues he has come back from Japan with to begin to be resolved," Stuart Hooper, the club's director of rugby, said.

    "We have no doubt that Henry, Zach and Joe can come back stronger and our performance department will support them in every possible way to ensure they have the best rehabilitation and return to performance."

  • Blundell on standby to replace Nicholls for New Zealand after batsman takes Archer blow Blundell on standby to replace Nicholls for New Zealand after batsman takes Archer blow

    Tom Blundell is on standby to replace Henry Nicholls against England if the New Zealand batsman is ruled out of the remainder of the first Test.

    Nicholls was struck on the helmet by a bouncer from England paceman Jofra Archer in the penultimate over on day two at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

    The 28-year-old was able to remain at the crease and was unbeaten on 26 at stumps, with the Black Caps 144-4 in reply to the tourists' 353 all out.

    Nicholls will undergo concussion tests and Blundell will replace him if he is unable to continue.

    New Zealand paceman Tim Southee said: "He's a pretty tough character so he'll rest up tonight, a couple of Panadol and be back out there.

    "He'll be assessed later on tonight and again in the morning, that's the protocol.

    "He's shaping up all right at the moment so fingers crossed he'll be right."

    Sam Curran took the big scalp of Kane Williamson for 51 after also removing Tom Latham.

    Ben Stokes earlier top-scored with 91 for England, with Southee taking 4-86 in an opening match of the series that is nicely poised.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.