New Zealand has advanced to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after an impressive 73-0 victory over Uruguay in Lyon. The All Blacks delivered a stellar performance, scoring 11 tries in a dominating display.
Leicester Fainga’anuku was the star of the second half, securing a hat-trick of tries. Damian McKenzie and Will Jordan also stood out, both touching down twice during the match. Richie Mo’unga, Cam Roigard, Fletcher Newell, and Tamaiti Williams, who came on as replacements, each contributed a try to New Zealand’s tally.
With this victory, New Zealand secures its place in the quarter-finals. The team will finish second in Pool A if France manages to avoid defeat against Italy, securing the top spot. New Zealand’s quarter-final opponent will be either Ireland or Scotland, who are set to face each other in Paris on Saturday. They could also potentially face defending champions South Africa.
Uruguay, on the other hand, exits the tournament with their heads held high. They put up commendable performances against France and Italy and staged a second-half comeback against Namibia. While the loss to New Zealand was their heaviest in the pool stage, they leave the competition with their reputation intact.
Before this match, New Zealand faced some challenges, including a record-breaking defeat by South Africa and a loss to France in their World Cup opener. However, their remarkable performance against Italy last week, where they scored 14 tries and accumulated 96 points, reminded the rugby world of their prowess.
Damian McKenzie, in particular, made a significant impact on the game. The versatile back, who amassed 26 points in the victory over Namibia, opened the scoring with a try. He also showcased his creativity by regathering his own grubber kick and delivering a one-handed offload for Will Jordan to score New Zealand’s third try. McKenzie continued to shine in the second half, adding another try to his name.
With the Uruguay match firmly in New Zealand’s control, McKenzie moved to the fly-half position in the final quarter and successfully converted two difficult kicks. His performance has given coach Ian Foster plenty to ponder regarding his starting lineup.
Captain Sam Cane, who had returned to the starting lineup, led New Zealand to this emphatic victory. The team is now heading into the quarter-finals with renewed confidence and a strong sense of purpose.