Okay, if this seems a little more haphazard than usual it’s because it is. I’ve had almost no sleep and I’m now struggling to concentrate on the screen. The teams:
New Zealand: Lance Hohaia, Sam Perrett, Krisnan Inu, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Benji Marshall, Thomas Leuluai, Nathan Cayless (c), Nathan Fien, Adam Blair, Simon Mannering, Setaimata Sa, Jeremy Smith.
Interchange: Issac Luke, Greg Eastwood, Sam Rapira, David Fa’alogo.
Papua New Guinea: John Wilshere (c), George Kepa, Jesse Joe Parker, Tu’u Maori, David Moore, Stanley Gene, Keith Peters, Makali Aizue, Paul Aiton, Trevor Exton, Neville Costigan, James Nightingale, Rod Griffin.
Interchange: Rodney Pora, George Moni, Jason Chan, Charlie Wabo.
NEW ZEALAND 48 – 6 PAPUA NEW GUINEA
That’s a shame, the Kiwis’ haka is less dramatic than it was against Australia.
0 mins: The kumuls start their defensive effort with high intensity again, and Sam Perrett gets hurt on the second tackle of the game. They also run hard in their first offensive set.
2 mins: Manu Vatuvei gets a rough call as he s accused of knocking on when he is clearly interfered with. NZ do well to hold out PNG and charge down the kick, only to knock on trying to break away.
4 mins: New Zealand seem to be rushing PNG with their defence, but they get caught offside and make the mistake of arguing with Steve Ganson. The kumuls waste the ensuing possesion as Stanley Gene kicks early and kicks dead.
6 mins: The Kiwis attack for the first time and force a drop-out.
8 mins: TRY Jerome Ropati
PNG give away a penalty, and New Zealand just use quick hands for Benji Marshall to put Jerome Ropati in. Inu misses the kick
NZ 4 – 0 PNG
11 mins: New Zealand have a roll on now, as PNG stop Jeremy Smith’s half-break leads to an interference penalty. Fien kicks it dead on the last.
15 mins: TRY Simon Mannering CONVERSION Krisnan Inu
PNG’s wide defence is exposed as Vatuvei bulldozes his way through a gap on the wing. He’s dragged down. But the ball is swtiched wide to the other flank and Simon Mannering hits a hole in the line to get a try.
NZ 10 – 0 PNG
19 mins: The Kumuls get a chance inside the Kiwi half, but Jason Nightingale drops the ball
20 mins: A Kiwi bomb is dropped by David Moore, but only because Nathan Cayless was playing the man not the ball
23 mins: TRY Mannering CONVERSION
Fien makes a break down the middle and is halted just short of the line. A few passes later and Mannering is able to crash over for his second try. Pretty weak defensive effort from PNG though. Inu gets his second kick
NZ 16 – 0 PNG
29 mins: Wilshere puts in a nice grubber, and Vatuvei almost messes up knocking it dead. A drop-out for NZ.
31 mins: Wabo does very well to hold onto a Gene bullet pass. After PNG get a penalty they spread the ball wide only for Vatuvei to knock Kepa into touch.
34 mins: TRY Sam Perrett CONVERSION Inu
NZ get close to the Kumuls line, and Benji skips away from a few players. He then throws a monster pass to Perrett almost halfway across the field. Perrett takes it closer to the posts and Inu rewards his effort with a conversion.
39 mins: PNG build up a little pressure in the Kiwi half and get a scrum from a Perrett knock-on. Peters puts on a chip with a horror bounce which evades everyone, although luckily for the Kiwis it ends up in NZ hands. That takes us to half-time.
HALF-TIME New Zealand 22 – 0 Papua New Guinea
Not looking good for the Kumuls. The Kiwis seem to have solved the physicality which is central to their game and simply aren’t letting them have their way. I’m not sure what alternatives the Kumuls have to utilise but they need to find another plan.
40 mins: The Kiwis give away a penalty off the opening tackle. Benji is off with a minor twinge apparently.
42 mins: A let-off for PNG, as David Moore drops the ball 15m out, but Mannering’s pass to Ropati which sets up Perrett for a try is ruled forward. It’s a close thing.
47 mins: TRY David Moore CONVERSION John Wilshere
God, we needed that. A lovely Neville Costigan offload frees Jessie Joe Parker, who gives it David Moore and he evades the attentions of the Kiwis for a try. Wilshere adds the extras.
NZ 22 – 6 PNG
50 mins: Bizarre passage of play. New Zealand send the kick-off straight dead, but Vatuvei stops the kick to touch going out.
53 mins: Perrett makes the mistake of trying to score in the corner, and gets bundled into touch by at least four Kumul defenders.
55 mins: TRY Isaac Luke
Isaac Luke runs through a hole in the PNG defensive line and outsprints the covering defenders to reach the line first. Inu balls up the conversion, but it shouldn’t matter too much. Just as the game was getting interesting again…
NZ 26 – 6 PNG
58 mins: TRY David Fa’alogo
Well, the Kiwis are on a roll now. Some heavy-hitting close to the line frees up some space on the peripheries for Fa’alogo to crash over. Isaac Luke is now the kicker but he messes up a close kick.
NZ 30 – 6 PNG
62 mins: The Kiwis seem to think they’ve scored again (as do the crowd) but Nathan Fien’s rather beautiful cut-out pass to Vatuvei is called forward. Looks like the wrong call to me.
67 mins: PNG are losing their composure as Makali Aizue gives away a silly penalty for a grapple tackle.
68 mins: TRY Adam Blair CONVERSION Inu
The Kiwis take advantage with a hit-up and Blair crashes over. Inu is back kicking and he nails this one.
NZ 36 – 6 PNG
70 mins: TRY Sam Perrett CONVERSION
A high bomb is dropped by David Moore as Krisnan Inu contests the ball in the air. Perrett picks up the loose ball from the bounce and scores. It takes the video ref a while to give a benefit of the doubt call to Perrett. After missing an easy kick, Inu now hits over a difficult one from the side.
NZ 42 – 6 PNG
74 mins: Ropati knocks on just inside the PNG half, and Nightingale now knocks on trying to run through a hole. This game is trudging along to its conclusion
76 mins: TRY Greg Eastwood CONVERSION Inu
Poor defencefrom the Kumuls as Eastwood steps his way through the line and then causes Wilshere to collide with the covering centre with another step, to go over untouched next to the posts.
NZ 48 – 6 PNG
79 mins: A nice chip gets a bad bounce for Kepa, and Perrett just has to catch the ball to score. Instead he knocks on, and it’s game over.
FINAL SCORE: New Zealand 48 – 6 Papua New Guinea
New Zealand did well and never really let PNG into it, although the Kumuls quite simply couldn’t keep up their level of performance from last week. It was more competent than stunning, although the Kiwis look like they might be getting some form.
And I need sleep…