By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 9/11/13
New Zealand has ended Papua New Guinea’s sorry World Cup with a 46-point thrashing in Leeds.
Sonny Bill Williams scored a hat-trick of tries in the Kiwi’s 10-try 56-10 romp, which began with a powerful 40-0 first half display. The Kumuls restored some pride in the second stanza, scoring two tries and stemming the damage, but this was a night when the men in black delivered an emphatic message to the rest of the tournament.
New Zealand showed they meant business after just one minute and 56 seconds, scoring their first try thanks to Bryson Goodwin. Four minutes later they crossed again, this time it was Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and the score reached 16-0 after 10 minutes with the Rooster winger in for his second meat pie.
It was embarrassing for Papua New Guinea as they simply couldn’t compete with the Kiwis power and pace. Every time New Zealand had the ball on the Kumuls line they scored, and the Papua New Guineans were repeatedly penalised for trying to slow down the Kiwi rampage.
Williams crossed for three tries, and could have had a fourth but it was ruled out by the video ref, while both Dean Whare and Tuivasa-Sheck got dobules.
Frank Paul-Nu’uausala and Elijah Taylor also got four-pointers, with Shaun Johnson in fine form converting eight from 10 shots at goal.
Starting down the barrel of a potential 80-0 thrashing after just 40 minutes Papua New Guinea, to their credit, didn’t throw in the towel and hit back well in the second half.
The biggest roar of the 18,180 strong crowd was reserved for the Kumuls first try, which came in the 41t minute.
Finding some rare possession, Papua New Guinea decided to run the ball and find some space out wide, with Dion Aiye finishing the move off. Now playing with real commitment, the Kumuls were almost in again three minutes later.
But the Kiwis showed their pure class to go up the other end of the field and respond in kind through a Whare score.
Papua New Guinea had the final say, getting a consolation try in the 77th minute through Wellington Albert, but this was New Zealand’s night. So far the Kiwis have posted tallies of 42 points on Samoa, 48 on France and 56 on Papua New Guinea. And they have let in just 34 points across those three games. Australia and England have been warned, New Zealand won’t be giving their World Cup trophy up lightly. The Kiwis will have to go into their quarter-final without Thomas Leuluai, who will be out with a groin injury, while there appears to be questions over the fitness of Manu Vatuvei and Josh Hoffman.
But this won’t worry the men from the Shakey Isles who are in fine form and are looking to improve with each match.