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Namibia provide a test for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     25 Sep 2015     Getty Images

A late flourish with two tries in the final six minutes blew the margin out a little but while the victory was never in doubt New Zealand were never able to gain a complete dominance after going to half-time with a 34-6 lead.

Namibia, once over some early nervousness, provided some interesting challenges for the All Blacks. Their defence at times was tenacious, and they enjoyed a strong third quarter when they upset the rhythm of New Zealand's game. They managed a try with a good lineout set-up, something when attempted later in the game the All Blacks were quick to snuff out.

New Zealand signalled their intention from kick-off by unleashing a 30m rolling maul on the Namibians even if their failure to clear the ball in the final stages resulted in a turnover scrum.

That proved no inhibitor for New Zealand and once No.8 Victor Vito and wing Julian Savea featured with some strong running in the early stages, gaps were opened for Vito to score the first try in the fifth minute.

The versatility on show in the All Blacks side was demonstrated when prop Charlie Faumuina was on hand after another Vito break to clear the ball from the base of the ruck to help provide wing Nehe Milner-Skudder with a ninth minute try.

But among the early tries none was sweeter than that scored by centre Malakai Fekitoa who was perfectly positioned for a superb back of hand special by second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams from the midst of three tacklers.

First five-eighths Beauden Barrett was always going to be in the action, not only in decision-making but also in kicking duties. However, he stamped his own piece of class in the 30th minute when from a Vito lineout take, he was presented with perfect ball by halfback TJ Perenara.

Taking the ball at speed, Barrett broke between two defenders, and then sensed the try scoring chance and upped his pace to leave the cover tacklers no chance as he crossed for New Zealand's fourth try.

Savea ended his wait for his first try of the year when charging over in the 46th minute and he backed that up again in the 74th minute.

Namibia enjoyed reward for finally opting to take a lineout penalty and after a clean take, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld ran at pace on the break to set up a ruck and when the ball was moved back it was second five-eighths Johan Deysel who received the ball at speed and crashed through the defence to score in the 50th minute.

Namibia lock Tijuee Uanivi had the satisfaction of denying New Zealand one sure try when winning a lineout off the All Blacks on Namibia's goal-line.

Fullback Johan Tromp was effective in nullifying Barrett's crossfield kicks while loose forwards Tinus du Plessis and Jacques Burger were constantly in the action.

Scorers: New Zealand 58 (Victor Vito, Nehe Milner-Skudder 2, Malakai Fekitoa, Beauden Barret, Julian Savea 2, Ben Smith, Codie Taylor tries; Beauden Barrett 4 con, pen; Colin Slade con) Namibia 14 (Johan Deysel try; Theuns Kotze 3 pen). HT: 34-6