New Zealand 76 Papua New Guinea 12
Threequarters Junior Sa’u and Sam Perrett both scored hat-tricks as New Zealand put an outclassed Papua New Guinea to the sword in a one-sided Four Nations match in Rotorua.
The Kiwis followed up their opening 24-10 win over England in impressive fashion, running in 14 tries to equal their previous biggest win over the Kumuls, a 64-0 rout in Palmerston North in 1996.
Stephen Kearney’s men ran in eight tries before the break to lead 46-0 and surpass Australia’s 42-0 victory over Papua New Guinea in Sydney and were in such command that they were able to rest influential skipper Benji Marshall five minutes into the second half.
“It was a good result,” said Marshall. “Our forwards were outstanding and the wingers were strong. It was a pretty solid effort.
“We were a bit disappointed last week and I think we’ve taken some steps to improving. there are still some things we need to work on for next week.
“I thought PNG dug deep and those two tries were like winning the World Cup for them back home.”
It was plain sailing for the Kiwis once outstanding full-back Lance Hohaia sent Perrett, a replacement for injured winger Manu Vatuvei, over for the first try with less than three minutes on the clock.
English video referee Russell Smith awarded a try to second rower Simon Mannering and loose forward Jeremy Smith touched down twice in five minutes as the Kiwis took full advantage of three early goalline drop-outs.
Centre Sa’u touched down Nathan Fien’s grubber kick to increase New Zealand’s lead to 28-0 before the Kumuls created their first try-scoring opportunity, centre Jessy Joe Parker narrowly failing to reach the ball before it struck the deadball line.
Hohaia, Greg Eastwood and Issac Luke added further tries before the break, while Sa’u brought up the half-century within two minutes of the restart and completed his hat-trick two minutes later.
Marshall took his goal tally to eight from 10 attempts before taking a breather but, even without their captain, there was no let-up from the Kiwis as Perrett grabbed his second try and prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala had a try disallowed before a brief rally brought two tries to the visitors.
Sheffield Eagles centre Menzie Yere, one of five players from the part-time English Championship, dummied his way over after 52 minutes and Hunslet hooker Charlie Wabo then created a try for stand-off Glen Nami with a neat kick over the Kiwi defence.
Ryan Tongia kicked both conversions to add a slight touch of respectability at 62-12 but Perrett collected Hohaia’s kick to the corner to complete his hat-trick.
Right winger Jason Nightingale and second rower Sika Manu added further tries in the last 10 minutes from the end and Luke kicked a second goal.
The Kumuls must now pick themselves up for next Saturday’s meeting with England in Auckland.
Captain Paul Aiton said: “We’re very disappointed. We just missed something that make us PNG.”