The All Blacks got off to a completely unfamiliar start to the tournament on opening night, losing 27-13 to hosts France in an electric heavyweight showdown in Paris, despite tries at the start of each half. -time of winger Mark Telea. Remarkably, it was the first group defeat for the three-time World Cup winners.
Although it is an obvious setback for Ian Foster’s Rugby Championship winners, they will still be very confident of reaching the quarter-finals as Pool A finalists – barring a shock defeat by the Blues, who won again on Thursday night – against Namibia, Italy and Uruguay all arrive now.
New Zealand are expected to win all three of these matches emphatically, with their biggest victory likely to come tonight.
Namibia made a competitive debut in their opening match against Italy in Saint-Etienne on Saturday, but then saw hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld taken off for collapsing a maul.
Gerswin Mouton replaced the Welwitschias, who ultimately conceded seven tries in a 52-8 defeat at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Kick-off date, time and location
New Zealand v Namibia takes place tonight, Friday September 15, 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm BST and 9pm local time.
The Stade de Toulouse will host the meeting.
Where to watch New Zealand vs Namibia
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s match will be broadcast live and free on ITV4, with coverage starting at 7.15pm.
Direct: Fans can also watch all the action live online via the ITVX website and app.
Live blog: Follow the game as it unfolds with Standard sportthe live match blog.
New Zealand vs Namibia team news
The All Blacks suffered a major blow before kick-off against France, with captain Sam Cane withdrawing late through injury while Foster was forced into a back-row reshuffle which included an unexpected departure for Tupou Vaa’ i.
Cane is missing again this week, with center Jordie Barrett, prop Tyrel Lomax and flanker Shannon Frizell also sidelined. Barrett is back in training after a knee problem, but won’t take any chances.
New Zealand have called Ethan Blackadder into their squad since the defeat to France, with Foster keen to strengthen his attacking options after winger Emoni Narawa suffered a back injury ahead of the tournament that will not stop him playing a role in the World Cup.
David Havili, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Brodie Retallick are among the players introduced into the starting line-up after coming on as substitutes last week as Foster makes nine changes for Namibia.
Ardie Savea captains the side again in Cane’s absence, with Sam Whitelock set to join the great Richie McCaw as the most capped All Black of all time with his 148th senior international appearance. Damian McKenzie, Cam Roigard and Caleb Clarke all make their World Cup debuts.
These are four changes from Namibia head coach – and former Springboks – Allister Coetzee, who brings in fullback Cliven Loubser, prop Jason Benade, flanker Prince Gaoseb and center Le Roux Malan after the defeat against Italy.
Johan Retief moves to lock and Divan Rossouw to the wing, with Desiderius Sethie, Adriaan Ludick and JC Greyling all dropping to the bench.
New Zealand vs Namibia line-ups
New Zealand XV: B Barrett; Clarke, Leinert-Brown, Havili, Fainga’anuku; McKenzie, Roigard; Tuungafasi, Taukei’aho, Laulala; Retallick, Whitelock; Jacobson, Papali’i, Savea (c)
Substitutes: Coles, De Groot, Newell, S Barrett, Vaa’i, Smith, Mo’unga, Ioane
Namibia XV: Rental agent; Mouton, Deysel (c), Malan, Rossouw; Swanepoel, Stevens; Benade, Van Jaarsveld Coetzee; Retief, Uanivi; Conradie, Gaoseb, Hardwick
Substitutes: Van der Westhuizen, Sethie, Shifuka, Van Lill, Booysen, Katjijeko, Theron, Greyling
Referee New Zealand vs Namibia
Luke Pearce is the referee for tonight’s match, supported by assistants Andrew Brace and Jordan Way. Brian MacNeice is the TMO.
New Zealand vs Namibia Prediction
Namibia’s heavy loss to Italy continued their run of unwanted defeats in all matches they have played at the Rugby World Cup.
This is a streak of 24 matches, with the African nation having qualified for every tournament since 1999 after missing the first three editions.
They have met the All Blacks twice during this period, beaten 58-14 in London in 2015 and then 71-9 in Tokyo four years ago.
Expect a similarly one-sided scoreline tonight as a hurting New Zealand look to get their campaign off to a flying start to state their own title ambitions.
New Zealand wins, by at least 50 points.
History and results of face-to-face meetings (h2h)
New Zealand wins: 2
Namibia wins: 0
Latest New Zealand vs Namibia odds
New Zealand winning: 1/500
Namibia wins: 50/1
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).