Rugby World Cup 2007
New Zealand down brave Portugal
September 15, 2007
Brendon Leonard score one of 16 New Zealand tries against Portugal
© Getty Images
New Zealand's quest for the 2007 Rugby World Cup continued with a 108-13 mauling of minnows Portugal in Lyon. New Zealand became the sixth team to break the 100 point barrier in a World Cup game by outclassing plucky Portugal in a Pool C mismatch in Lyon today.
The All Blacks, the tournament favourites, ran in 16 tries in all, with Joe Rokocoko, Aaron Mauger and Conrad Smith all grabbing doubles. It was the fourth highest total scored by a team in the competition, but Portugal will be heartened by the fact they at least troubled the scorers in a backs-to-the-wall effort at the Stade Gerland.
Rui Cordeiro barged over for a second-half try, while Goncalo Malheiro booted a drop-goal and Duarte Pinto added a conversion and a penalty. Indeed, the Portuguese would have been happy with their opening 25 minutes, during which they conceded just two tries - to the electric Rokocoko - and grabbed three points with Malheiro's drop-goal.
But then the floodgates opened, with the All Blacks scoring six tries in a 15 minute spell before the interval. Isaia Toeava scored the third try and Ali Williams the fourth, both scores coming down the left channel with the Portuguese defence found wanting.
Jerry Collins rampaged through the middle before setting up Mauger for the next, and the captain himself applied the finish after good work from Toeava to make it 40-3. Chris Masoe and Andrew Hore grabbed close range scores in the last six minutes of the half to bring up the half century, and by that time it was beginning to look humiliating for the Portuguese.
Nick Evans converted six of the eight first half tries and went on to administer further punishment with another eight conversions and a try to finish with 33 points. Like they had been in patches in the first half, the All Blacks were sloppy at the start of the second period, and Cordeiro harvested by bundling over for a close range try following phase after phase of forward drives. Pinto added the
Leon MacDonald, Smith (twice) and Carl Hayman administered the last rites to the bring up the century for New Zealand. The only dampener for All Blacks coach Graham Henry would have been the hamstring injury suffered by Mils Muliaina in the sixth minute. He limped off, to be replaced by MacDonald, and strapping was immediately applied to his left leg.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Aaron Mauger, Joe Rokocoko, Nick Evans, Brendon Leonard, Sione Lauaki, Chris Masoe, Jerry Collins (captain), Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Greg Somerville, Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata.
Reserves: Anton Oliver, Tony Woodcock, Carl Hayman, Rodney So'oialo, Keven Mealamu, Andy Ellis, Leon MacDonald
Portugal: Pedro Leal, Antonio Aguilar, Miguel Portela, Diogo Mateus, Pedro Carvalho, Goncalo Malheiro, Luis Pissarra, Vasco Uva (captain), Diogo Coutinho, Paulo Murinello, Goncalo Uva, Marcello d'Orey, Ruben Spachuck, Joao Correia, Andre Silva.
Reserves: Rui Cordeiro, Joaquim Ferreira, David Penalva, Tiago Girao, Joao Uva, Jose Pinto, Duarte Cardoso Pinto