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Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach, admitted as much even if he was frustrated that, as the Namibians obviously tired in the last quarter and the action became very messy and stop-start, his team could not make their obvious superiority tell even more.
Yet he understood that this night was not about his team but about the tremendous breakthrough of team that a dozen years ago once conceded 142 points against Australia.
“The scoreboard would suggest that’s the case,” Hansen reflected, when asked if Namibia’s commendable efforts were a reflection of the more unfancied sides’ considerable improvement at this World Cup. “World Rugby has spent quite a bit of money to try to improve sides and I think the so-called minnows, for want of a better word, have played well so far.
“When Namibia got tired, the game got messy but that’s what you would expect when you’ve just got eight players who are amateurs in their 23 and they’re up against one of the most professional teams in rugby.
“But early in the game, they committed themselves totally to the breakdown, the tackle and the lineout, and they should be really proud of themselves. Just to make it to the World Cup from where they’ve come from – and I don’t mean this disrespectfully but as praise – to get to a game like this is something special in itself.
“I’m happy to acknowledge they were worthy opponents. At the end of the day, they gave everything they could give and that’s all you can ask of a man. You want them to be able to look in the mirror and say ‘I gave everything I had’ and to a man they did that.”Published in: Rugby World Cup 2015