New Zealand started well but fizzled out in their Rugby World Cup opener against France and Namibia could find themselves on the wrong end of a backlash on Friday.

The All Blacks lost 27-13 at the Stade de France and the draw means Ian Foster is now set to rotate his side for this game and the clash against Uruguay before building his team’s form heading into their final Pool A match against Italy and the knockout rounds.

Namibia were spirited in their 52-8 defeat to Italy but fell away as the game went on in Saint-Etienne and, despite debuting in 1999, are still to record a Rugby World Cup win.

That wait is likely to continue in Toulouse and the fear is that the Kiwis could go big at a ground where they beat Romania 85-8 in 2007.

New Zealand vs Namibia Betting Tips

  • New Zealand -69 @ 5/6
  • Sam Whitelock Anytime Tryscorer @ 6/4

Team news

Lock Sam Whitelock will equal former Crusaders teammate Richie McCaw in becoming the joint-most capped All Black by winning his 148th Test cap and needs two more appearances to surpass McCaw and England’s Jason Leonard’s record of 22 World Cup appearances.

Whitelock is one of just six players retained from the XV that started against France, with World Cup debuts for scrum-half Cam Roigard, fly-half Damien McKenzie and wing Caleb Clarke.

However, captain Sam Cane is still unavailable through a back injury, while flanker Shannon Frizell, prop Tyrell Lomax and centre Jordie Barrett are also all still sidelined.

Namibia boss Allister Coetzee has made four changes, with prop Jason Benade, flanker Prince Gaoseb, centre Le Roux Malan and full-back Cliven Loubser coming into the side.

Interestingly, the former South Africa coach’s comments hint that he has upgraded his options for this game, commenting: “There are guys coming in and they can make a difference. New Zealand is a top nation. Our plan is to stop the momentum and break their rhythm.”

New Zealand -69 @ 5/6

This is the third straight World Cup that the two nations have met in the pool stages, with the All Blacks winning 58-14 in London in 2015 and then 71-9 four years ago in Chofu.

While the Kiwis failed to punch holes in the French defence, they still moved the ball with pace, scoring a pair of well-worked tries through Mark Telea.

With a mobile pack led by stand-in skipper Ardie Savea and a skilful yet speedy 10-12-15 combination of McKenzie, David Havili and Beauden Barrett, they could open up.

Namibia’s ‘final’ will be their closing outing against Uruguay on September 27 but, in the meantime, they will do their best to hang on against New Zealand and France. However, the way they fell off in the second half against Italy was alarming and the Kiwis are a far superior side.

There are some pretty heavy handicaps available and certain pundits have even predicted that the All Blacks could reach three figures.

That would be stunning but this Kiwi vintage falls short of past editions so the -69 line might be about right on Friday.

Sam Whitelock Anytime Tryscorer @ 6/4

Whitelock has only scored seven tries in his Test career but it is interesting to note that one came in 2019 against Namibia.

The 34-year-old is joined by old mate Brodie Retallick in the second row and the pair will look to enjoy themselves in what looks set to be their final World Cup.

Either player touching down for a try would bring great joy to the Kiwi camp but Whitelock has extra motivation to go over on his big night.

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