24HR TICKET HOTLINE:
0844 847 2013
B Goodwin x2, J Bromwich, R Tuivasa-Sheck x2, F Pritchard, S Johnson, M Vatuvei
S Johnson x4
Attendance: 16,207 Official: Venue: Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
Ref: B. Cummins T Judge: J. Thompson T Judge: R. Hicks Video Ref: S. Hayne
Man of the Match: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
By Josh Barrowcliff
Reigning champions New Zealand put in a stellar performance to beat Scotland 40-4 and set up a potential semi-final clash with England.
The Kiwis put five tries past their opponents in a dominant first half as they cruised towards a strong interval lead. A revival after the break saw the Bravehearts push them all the way, but they rolled back the years with a powerful performance to continue in their pursuit for back-to-back Rugby League World Cup titles.
It was a ferocious start to the match by both sides. First Sonny Bill Williams went tumbling down under a heavy challenge, before a clattering tackle left Scotland's Adam Walker on the ground.
Despite the Bravehearts' early endevour, order was quickly restored as the holders showed their class. Issac Luke displayed electric pace to split the Scottish defence and flawless passes across the line found Bryson Goodwin in the corner to open the scoring. A rare missed conversion from Shaun Johnson meant the score line remained at 4-0.
Unable to stop the flow of Kiwi attacks, Scotland quickly fell further behind. A lapse in defensive organisation allowed Jesse Bromwich space to run at, to which he obliged, powering through beneath the posts. This time Johnson found the composure to convert.
Pressing their dominance New Zealand were proving impossible to stop. Clever inter-changing passes stretched the Scottish backs and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was left unmarked in the near corner to score his fifth try of the tournament. Johnson was unable to find the mark from a tight angle but the Kiwis moved to 14-0 after 20 minutes of play.
With seemingly endless attacking talent the number two team in the world struck moments later. The peerless Kieron Foran held his nerve to find a surging Frank Pritchard who dived over the whitewash with glee. Once again Johnson found his range, extending the lead.
There was no stopping the Kiwis with 10 minutes remaining of the first period. In the blink of an eye Williams had cut through the middle of the Bravehearts' pack and offloaded to Johnson for a clean run across the line. The latter ending the half on a high by converting his own try for 26 point advantage at the break.
A rejuvenated Scotland came out fighting at the start of the second period, but much like the opening minutes of the match their efforts returned fruitless. Having held New Zealand at bay for nine minutes, Tuivasa-Sheck side-stepped his tacklers before running the length of the pitch for his second of the game. A Johnson conversion made it 32-0.
Strolling towards a comfortable victory, New Zealand were in no mood to take their foot off the gas. Goodwin did well to prevent being carried over the sideline and found Manu Vatuvei who collected his first try of the match. Unable to find his rythme Johnson missed his kick in the corner.
With 15 minutes of the match remaining, the moment the crowd were waiting for arrived. As a sea of black shirts surrounded him, Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough produced a pass worthy of his accolade to find Alex Hurst in the far corner who gave the rapturous spectators something to cheer about. Brough's missed conversion did little to dampen their spirits with the score line a more respectable 36-4.
Keen to re-establish control the Kiwis poured forward again and Goodwin had a deserved second try after Foran's pinpoint kick found him waiting on the near side. With the stadium willing him to miss, Johnson couldn't convert with New Zealand keeping their World Cup hopes very much alive.
The Kiwis now await the result of the quarter-final clash between England and France to find out who they will face in the first of a semi-final double header at Wembley on Saturday November 23 (1:00pm).
|Sonny Bill Williams||0||2||12||2||2||4||0||7||48||7||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||0|
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals