Ben Smith All Blacks rout Namibia to move closer to World Cup quarters

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TOKYO (AP) — New Zealand moved closer to a ninth quarterfinals berth in nine Rugby World Cups after accounting for Namibia 71-9 on Sunday.

New Zealand, which has never lost a pool game, will play Italy next weekend to attempt a fourth straight win and sweep Pool B. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.

Just four days after blitzing Canada 63-0, the All Blacks increased the highest score at this World Cup with a victory by 11 tries to nil at Tokyo Stadium.

The only negative for New Zealand was the yellow cards for props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi, both for arm tackles hitting the ball-carriers’ heads, though both times the Namibians were ducking down.

Still, being a man short for the end of both halves didn’t even register with the All Blacks, who scored four tries while down to 14 men.

“The first half was pretty disappointing. We didn’t turn up with the right attitude and Namibia made us pay for that. It’s a good lesson,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen sa

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