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New Zealand – Namibia

New Zealand Namibia world cup preview

The All Blacks will face Namibia on Sunday in Pool B of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand has been solid so far in the competition, as you would expect. The All Blacks pun on a very good effort to defeat South Africa 23-13 in their first game, making a statement that they are still the team to beat in this tournament, and followed that with a routine 63-0 victory over Canada. New Zealand now surely have their eyes firmly set on the quarterfinals, even though they still have Namibia and Italy left to play.

Namibia put on a proud performance in the first group game against Italy, scoring 22 points for a 22-47 loss. Although Italy could have scored at least 20 more if not for some shocking handling errors in clear scoring positions, Namibia was still able to draw some positives from that game. Their 3-57 loss to South Africa in the next game wasn`t too bad either for such a small rugby Nation.

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Team news & lineups:

Somewhat surprisingly, New Zealand has selected a very strong lineup here – not quite the “A” team, but not very far from it either. Superstar lock Brodie Retallick returns from an injury that almost kept him out of the RWC. They will improvise with Jordie Barrett at No.10., which is an interesting decision.

Namibia is forced to make 9 changes to the team which took on South Africa due to the intensity of that game, and due to their big game against Canada coming up. However, the team is arguably stronger than the one which played South Africa, when some key players were left on the bench.

New Zealand: 15. Ben Smith, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 11. George Bridge, 10. Jordie Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Ardie Savea, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Shannon Frizell, 5. Sam Whitelock (c), 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Joe Moody

Namibia: 15. Johan Tromp, 14. Lesley Klim, 13. Justin Newman, 12. Johan Deysel (c), 11. JC Greyling, 10. Helarius Axasman Kisting, 9. Damian Stevens, 8. Janco Venter, 7. Thomasau Forbes, 6. Prince Gaoseb, 5. Tjiuee Uanivi, 4. PJ Van Lill, 3. AJ De Klerk, 2. Torsten George Van Jaarsveld, 1. Andre Rademeyer

New Zealand will obviously win this game, and will most likely do it by 50+ points.

But we saw how huge spreads were never covered by the big guns against the minnows in this World Cup. The big teams aren`t forcing the issue this early in the competition, and we saw that from the All Blacks themselves in their previous outing – they completely turned off the engines in the last 20 minutes against Canada, failing to score a single point in that timespan (they should have scored 7, but Beauden Barrett botched a late try).

The All Blacks will have a few tired legs, specifically the guys which also played against Canada just 5 days ago on Wednesday. The decision to start Jordie Barrett as playmaker for the first time in his career is likely to create some problems as well. First of all missing Beauden Barrett is a problem in itself, but replacing him with his brother Jordie could create some slow ball situations and maybe even some misunderstandings.

The bookies set the handicap line at 69,5 points, which seems rather high considering what happened so far in this World Cup, but there`s no doubt the All Blacks can cover it if they want to. It looks like a coin toss, really.

The interesting thing is that the under / over line is currently set at 81,5 points, which means the bookies are expecting 4-5 points from Namibia (in relation to the handicap line). I doubt that will happen.

The Namibians scored 3 against South Africa, barely. They had under 30% territory, had zero clean breaks, and carried just 158 meters the entire game with only 9 defenders beaten. Unfortunately I couldn`t find the stat about how much time they spent in the South African 22, but I never saw them there in the 50+ combined minutes I watched from that game.

As comparition, Canada had much better offensive stats against New Zealand on Wednesday and scored zero points.

New Zealand will score plenty and might cover the spread, but it`s unlikely they will go beyond 75 points given how they switched off against Canada in the previous game.

The previous meeting was at the 2015 World Cup, when New Zealand won 58-14.

Namibia will hope that humidity and potential rain can create some handling errors from the All Blacks and help keep the game closer.

My tip will be under 81,5 points to be scored. Line is dropping. I`d probably take anything up to 77,5 points, lowering the stakes with a unit for every shaved point. Prediction: New Zealand – Namibia 71-0.

Pick: under 81,5 points
Odds: 1.90 @ Bet365
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.20
Event date: 6 October

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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