Here is Luke McLaughlin’s match report from Lyon. Thanks for joining me, and do stop by tomorrow for France v Italy. Bye!
Here’s the All Black captain, Sam Cane: “It’s good to be back! Quite a tough match, we were really made to work especially in the first 20 minutes. Uruguay have been outstanding in this World Cup, congratulations to them.”
On Sam Whitelock’s 150th cap, Cane says :“It’s a phenomenal achievement. The work he puts in during the week [in training] is unbelievable. He’s a huge part of this team.”
Here’s Pool A as it stands. New Zealand are through, but will end up second to France unless Italy pull off a seismic shock on Friday. Uruguay and Namibia are eliminated, and the Azzurri are now assured of at least third place and qualification for 2027.
Here’s the player of the match, Damian McKenzie: “It was a very enjoyable game, we took a while to break Uruguay, they were a tough team. We’ve got to where we want to be [the quarter-finals], we know we’ve got to get better from here.”
Will he feature in the quarter-final XV? He certainly brings a maverick energy to the back line, although they will obviously have much less space to work with next week.
Full time! New Zealand 73-0 Uruguay
It took 20 minutes for New Zealand to score, and the lead was just 26 points at half-time – but the All Blacks found their groove in the second half to run up another monster score.
79 mins: One more converted try would make this margin of victory bigger than the Italy game. But instead, Uruguay get the penalty and motor upfield, every pass cheered by the crowd – they are running on fumes, though, and New Zealand snuff out the threat.
78 mins: Barrett charges upfield and miscues his attempted kick-through to McKenzie, which is closer to going through the posts than finding the full-back. Don’t think it’ll matter in the end.
TRY! New Zealand 73-0 Uruguay (Fainga'anuku 76')
Leicester Fainga’anuku completes a clinical hat-trick after Barrett had picked out prop Samisoni Taukei’aho. It’s total rugby!
75 mins: Another telling statistic: Damian McKenzie has run more metres than the entire Uruguay team. There may be no better team in all of sport at delivering a beatdown than the relentless All Blacks.
TRY! New Zealand 66-0 Uruguay (Williams 72')
Uruguay have, in my opinion, better fundamental skills than most other minnows in this World Cup – but fatigue is setting in, and New Zealand’s forwards can now do pretty much as they please. It’s replacement prop Tamaiti Williams who gets over the line here for try No 10. Barrett takes over kicking duties and converts.
71 mins: I know that Uruguay are limited opposition, but it feels weird to think this could be New Zealand’s last win at this tournament.
70 mins: Will Jordan, chasing a hat-trick, goes after a kick downfield – but Berchesi is on hand to mop up and prevent a 10th New Zealand try.
TRY! New Zealand 59-0 Uruguay (Fainga'anuku 68')
We’re heading into “throw the damn towel” territory now, as Lienert-Brown unselfishly sets up Leicester Fainga’anuku for his second try, and New Zealand’s ninth, with a seventh conversion to boot.
TRY! New Zealand 52-0 Uruguay (Jordan 66')
A second try for Will Jordan, created by McKenzie and sealed with a simple offload from Barrett. The All Blacks go from 0-60 in about 10 seconds, and McKenzie adds a tricky conversion.
64 mins: All of those changes, and a series of scrum false starts, have rather sapped the energy in the stands. Manuel Leindekar gets a lecture from Barnes about going down easily; the Uruguay lock could point out he’s been playing the All Blacks for over an hour, but thinks better of it.
63 mins: Scott Barrett replaces Whitelock and he brings his big brother, Beauden, with him as Mo’unga’s evening comes to an end. Guillermo Pujadas and Matias Benitez replace Kessler and Sanguinetti for Uruguay, and that’s both benches emptied.
61 mins: Agustin Ormaechea replaces Santiago Arata, the skilful scrum-half who gradually got squeezed out of this game. At the breakdown, a cunning plan from Ethan Blackadder doesn’t quite come off, and we’ll restart from a scrum.
60 mins: A word for Sam Whitelock, who has won his 150th cap today after passing Richie McCaw’s All Black record against Italy. He’s about to be replaced by Scott Barrett, and is second only to Alun Wyn Jones in the all-time men’s standings.
58 mins: More Uruguay changes – wing Gaston Mieres and prop Diego Arbelo are off, replaced by Juan Alonso and Ignacio Peculo. New Zealand still have Beauden Barrett on their bench, should they need him.
57 mins: Another painful stat for Los Teros – they’ve missed 35 tackles to New Zealand’s nine. Rodriguez gets held up on the ball and Finlay Christie is able to nip in and collect it.
55 mins: Uruguay bring on Santiago Civetta for Manuel Diana. New Zealand have carried for more than 900 metres now; Uruguay’s total is 325.
54 mins: Changes aplenty from Foster now, with Caleb Clarke on for Jordie Barrett, Ethan Blackadder replacing Shannon Frizell and Finlay Christie on for scrum-half Roigard.
TRY! New Zealand 45-0 Uruguay (McKenzie 53')
Damian McKenzie gets his second score after more quick hands from Fainga’anuku and Jordan – with a cameo from hooker Tamaiti Williams. The full-back kicks his own conversion, too.
50 mins: Two Uruguay changes: the error-prone Etcheverry is replaced at fly-half by Felipe Berchesi, and Juan Rodriguez is on for Ignacio Dotti in the pack.
TRY! New Zealand 38-0 Uruguay (Fainga'anuku 48')
After a ridiculous, high-speed move downfield, Will Jordan’s looping long pass finds Leicester Fainga’anuku in space to score! Mo’unga converts this time, and the try count is mounting up.
46 mins: New Zealand refresh the other two thirds of their front row, with Tuungafasi and Taylor replaced by Taukei’aho and Tamaiti Williams.
TRY! New Zealand 31-0 Uruguay (Newell 44')
Jordan and Fainga’anuku combine on the left but as their backs run out of space, Roigard reverses to replacement prop Fletcher Newell, who shows off a decent sidestep to score. Mo’unga’s conversion pings off the left-hand post.
43 mins: Having kicked short to avoid handing over possession, Uruguay lose the ball at the lineout. There’s no escape, and New Zealand move into the opposing 22 …
42 mins: Tupou Vaa’i climbs highest at the lineout but Uruguay turn the ball over, and Etcheverry’s clever chip kick for touch wins them lineout ball.
The second half is under way; no half-time changes for either side, as far as I can tell.
Here’s that moment of McKenzie magic. As Peter Gibbs points out via email, a touch of the Harlem Globetrotters about this.
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Half time! New Zealand 26-0 Uruguay
Uruguay attempt a last weary charge downfield, but a handling error in midfield costs them. New Zealand didn’t really get going for 20 minutes, and Uruguay have caused them problems – but the All Blacks have still got the bonus point wrapped up by half-time.
TRY! New Zealand 26-0 Uruguay (Roigard 38')
New Zealand scrum, five metres out – and they are so ruthless from these positions. Even a Jacobson error can’t deny them as Roigard regroups, shimmies past his man and darts over the line. Mo’unga misses the conversion, though. Boo!
36 mins: More wizardry here as Jordan collects a bad pass from Barrett with one hand and kicks through. Santiago Arata does well to scurry back under pressure and ground the ball.
The full-back raced after his own kick-through and not only keeps it from going into touch, but gets it back to Will Jordan with a flick of his wrist. The chasing cloud of sky blue shirts are caught cold, and Jordan runs away to score!
TRY! New Zealand 21-0 Uruguay (Jordan 33')
Moments after Uruguay had made scoring a try look very hard, New Zealand make it look so easy – all set up by a brilliant bit of improvisation by Damian McKenzie!
32 mins: When the ball finally pops loose, Diana’s pass flies out of Vilaseca’s grasp and New Zealand can clear the danger.
30 mins: We’re now in one of those stop-start scrum spells so beloved by casual rugby fans.
29 mins: Ach, it all goes wrong as Ardao's ball to the captain, Andres Vilaseca, flies out of touch. But hold on – a New Zealand knock-on means a Uruguay scrum …
27 mins: Uruguay penalty, kicked to the corner – and as the underdogs retain the ball and turn the screw, New Zealand are whistled again. They go for another lineout …
Credit to John for sending this while the scores were still level. I still think Uruguay have enough about them to avoid a total hammering, though.
TRY! New Zealand 14-0 Uruguay (Mo'unga 23')
From the scrum, Jordie Barrett’s sweetly-timed spinning pass finds Mo’unga, who can jog in unchallenged. The fly-half adds the conversion, and just like that, New Zealand are away and clear.
22 mins: Loose hands from Uruguay’s German Kessler allow New Zealand to turn it over, and fly-half Felipe Etcheverry drops the downfield kick for a knock-on.
TRY! New Zealand 7-0 Uruguay (McKenzie 19')
19 mins: New Zealand take the scrum five metres out, with their backs lining up behind. Penalty advantage, but they don’t need it as Mo’unga feeds McKenzie for his fourth try of the tournament. Mo’unga adds the conversion.
18 mins: Barnes is one of the more whistle-happy officials in this tournament, but Uruguay’s defence haven’t put a foot wrong. That changes here as Frizzell powers forward, Roigard inches towards the post and Uruguay prove a touch too eager at the breakdown.
16 mins: It’s a third non-try of the game as Damian McKenzie, at full-back tonight, glides over the line – but Mo’unga is penalised for a high hit on Santiago Arata.
15 mins: Plenty of stats in Uruguay’s favour so far – fewer handling errors and missed tackles. New Zealand have barely started, but it’s still hard to believe Uruguay were 14-0 down to Namibia at this point in their last game.
13 mins: Oh my days! Uruguay think they’ve scored a try – but the TMO rules it out. It all starts with a brilliant run around the outside from Gaston Mieres, who has Silva in support – but a last-ditch tackle knocks the ball free.
Uruguay come again, finding numbers on the left – and Ardao is able to squeeze over the line – but replays show that Lienert-Brown just hauled him into touch. The All Blacks escape!
11 mins: It’s safe to say New Zealand are not out of second gear yet, as a pass back finds nobody in particular. Uruguay have a chance to break …
10 mins: Lomax is unable to continue, and is replaced by Fletcher Newell in the front row.
9 mins: No try! Cam Roigard ducks away from a ruck and dives for the try line, but two Uruguay players – Bianchi and Mateo Sanguinetti – combine to dislodge the ball. Did Roigard get it down in time? Not quite, as replays show.
“This should be another walkover for NZ, and won’t help them at all for the hard quarter-final coming up,” says Jerry Buirski, who also fancies a final rematch: “The final will be between Ireland and the Boks.”
6 mins: Will Jordan collects a kick and leads an ominous charge downfield, but with Uruguay scrambling to get men back, Jacobson is penalised for wrapping an arm round an opponent’s neck.
5 mins: A solid start from the underdogs, winning the scrum and getting beyond the gain line – although New Zealand are able to turn it over without much fuss, Luke Jacobson getting the job done.
4 mins: Uruguay stand up to the first wave of pressure, with Lucas Bianchi stripping the ball from Leicester Fainga’anuku. The New Zealand No 3, Tyrel Lomax, is down getting treatment on his knee.
2 mins: Uruguay make some in-roads down New Zealand’s left, but a clumsy dropped pass allows Will Jordan to steal in and turn it over, and Richie Mo’unga kicks downfield.
Here we go
Uruguay, in their deep sky blue shirts, get the game under way, claim the ball at a lineout and start rolling forward. So far, so good.
The All Blacks assemble for the haka, with returning captain Sam Cane at the front of the terrifying triangle. I always imagine what it must feel like to be on the other side, watching and knowing what’s about to take place.
Tonight’s referee, Wayne Barnes, was roundly booed by New Zealand fans on his way out. That particular beef goes back to 2007, and a missed forward pass in the World Cup loss to France.
Time for the anthems! Fun fact – Uruguay has the world’s longest national anthem; mercifully, we’ll get an abridged version here tonight.
“Is it possible NZ could meet South Africa in the final?” asks David. “That would be an incredible test.” Mais oui – the Springboks are likely to play France in the quarter-finals, but nothing is set in stone just yet.
Some pre-game thoughts from our man in Lyon, Luke McLaughlin:
It’s been another beautifully sunny, unseasonably warm day in France. Zero per cent chance of rain, along with zero per cent chance of Uruguay staging an upset here in Lyon, although they did cause significant problems for both a second-string France and a first-string Italy.
Keep an eye out for Uruguay’s No 6 Manuel Ardao, who effected no fewer than six turnovers in the first half against the Azzurri in Nice a couple of weeks back. The All Blacks will be keeping an eye on him at the breakdown.
A bonus-point win for New Zealand assures their place in the quarter-finals, although in that case they’ll need to wait until Saturday night to find out who they will play in Paris in either nine or 10 days’ time ...
This lopsided, drawn-out pool stage certainly isn’t perfect, but it does mean the knockout stages retain a certain mystery. It’s hard to judge exactly how good Wales and England are, while New Zealand and South Africa could still go all the way despite each suffering a defeat.
With that in mind, what’s your prediction for the final? Drop me a line here or on “X”/Twitter. I have a sneaking feeling we will end up back where we started, France v New Zealand in Paris. Don’t ask me the result, though.
Some pre-game reading on the All Blacks’ prospects, from Nick Evans.
New Zealand Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Cam Roigard; Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Codie Taylor, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Whitelock, Tupou Vaa’i, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (c), Luke Jacobson.
Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clarke.
Uruguay Rodrigo Silva, Gastón Mieres, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (c), Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Etcheverry, Santiago Arata; Mateo Sanguinetti, German Kessler, Diego Arbelo, Ignacio Dotti, Manuel Leindekar, Manuel Ardao, Lucas Bianchi, Manuel Diana.
Replacements: Guillermo Pujadas, Matias Benitez, Ignacio Peculo, Juan Manuel Rodríguez, Santiago Civetta, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi, Juan Manuel Alonso.
This has been a strange World Cup for New Zealand. The All Blacks are rarely afforded the chance to fly under the radar but since falling flat on opening night in Paris, Ian Foster’s side have piled up the points in a bid to stay relevant.
Namibia were bulldozed by 71 points to three, before Italy felt the full force of the New Zealand flex. The Azzurri were annihilated 96-17, the kind of blowout that launches a thousand World Cup format thinkpieces. The All Blacks have succeeded in reminding everyone they are still here, but beyond that, the scorelines didn’t matter all that much.
Another five points tonight for New Zealand will secure the second place in Pool A that has looked inevitable for almost a full month now. The team they will face in the last eight, and their prospects of getting back to Paris for the final on 28 October, remain uncertain.
Tonight’s opponents, Uruguay, are capable of providing a sterner warm-up test and have enjoyed an encouraging campaign – but with three tough games already under their belt, they may too find themselves squashed under the New Zealand steamroller this evening.