New Zealand continued their unbeaten start to Group B of the Rugby League World Cup, with a 74-6 thrashing of Scotland this afternoon in Christchurch.
Last time these two met, they played out a historic draw, but on a warm afternoon in Christchurch. New Zealand romped home in a 14-try effort highlighted by hat-tricks to Te-Maire Martin and Peta Hiku, that improved on their stumbling effort against Samoa last weekend.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck followed up his sparkling performance against Samoa, with another huge stat-line tonight. 233 run metres, four try-assists and three line-breaks showed that New Zealand will be a tough prospect for the other teams in Group B and beyond, into the semi-finals.
The Kiwis made eight changes to their side, giving their entire squad an opportunity at playing time. Jason Nightingale made the most of his chance with his 18th and 19th, try for his country as did Peta Hiku, with a hat-trick in a resounding victory.
Unlike last weekend, the handling was superb from the Kiwis, as they completed 29/34 sets which laid the platform for Tuivasa-Sheck and the backline to make 18 linebreaks which helped to create nine tries for the backline, with Te Maire Martin bagging a hat-trick.
Shaun Johnson carved some personal history for himself in the rout - passing Matthew Ridge (168 points) as the halfback supported a Tuivasa-Sheck break for the record-breaking four-pointer. Johnson finished the contest with a 14-point haul (nine goals and a try).
It was in the front row, where New Zealand overpowered the hapless Scotland side. Nelson Asofa-Solomona not only made 135 metres running but provided a superb flick pass to Martin for the first of his hat-trick. At times, it was simple football from New Zealand, a side that sometimes can get in their own way, that broke open a Scottish defense that missed 65 tackles.
The forwards enjoyed the space afforded as Kenneath Bromwich, Russell Packer and makeshift hooker, Elijah Taylor found themselves across the stripe in a performance that will make it tough for the rested players to make their way back in for the game against Samoa next Saturday night.
For Scotland, they didn't go out with the duck egg, as Oscar Thomas sliced through for their sole four-pointer.