New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was full of praise for Jordie Barrett’s performance at fly-half in the 71-9 victory over Namibia, but was disappointed with his team’s attitude during the early stages of the game.
Barrett has played the majority of his international career at full-back or on the wing but made his first appearance at number 10 for the All Blacks in Tokyo.
New Zealand named only two specialist fly-halves in their World Cup squad in Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett, meaning the utility back was given the opportunity in the pivotal role.
And Barrett responded with a 21-point haul from a try and eight conversions.
Hansen said: “I was really pleased with Jordie Barrett at 10, (he) played very, very well.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 6, 2019
“To be the third-choice first-five (fly-half), and our two superstar first-fives not playing. He got us round the back well. We ended up scoring (11) tries so there’s a lot to like about it.”
Despite the comfortable win, Hansen was not happy with his side’s first-half display as they led only 10-9 with 30 minutes played.
He said: “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, isn’t it?
“Second half, there was pretty good stuff in it. It didn’t happen in the first half because we had a poor attitude. They had more intent than us and played better than us in the first half.
“We came out in the second half and sorted that out at half-time and came out and played well.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 6, 2019
Namibia coach Phil Davies could not have asked any more of his team despite the heavy defeat.
He said: “I’m very proud of the effort we put in. Particularly our ball retention and line breaks in the first half.
“We knew we were playing against the best team in the competition, the current champions but we gave it all we could. I couldn’t ask any more of our players. We’re very proud of them. The scoreboard looks a bit painful but there was lots to take out of the match.
“To play against New Zealand or at the World Cup is a fantastic opportunity and challenge. That’s what we talked about. Taking on the challenge and embracing the opportunity.”
Watch: Matt Giteau and Mike Tindall pick their World Cup winners
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