The All Blacks made a totally unfamiliar losing start to the tournament on opening evening, going down 27-13 to hosts France in an electric heavyweight showdown in Paris despite tries early in each half from wing Mark Telea. Remarkably, it was the three-time winners’ first-ever pool defeat at a World Cup.
While that was an obvious setback for Ian Foster’s Rugby Championship winners, they will still be very confident of reaching the quarter-finals as Pool A runners-up - barring any shock defeats for Les Bleus, who won again on Thursday night - with Namibia, Italy and Uruguay all now coming up.
New Zealand will be expected to win all three of those games emphatically, with their biggest victory likely to come this evening.
Namibia made a competitive start in their opener against Italy in Saint-Etienne on Saturday, but then saw hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld sin-binned for collapsing a maul.
Gerswin Mouton went over for the Welwitschias, who eventually conceded seven tries in a 52-8 thrashing at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Date, kick-off time and venue
New Zealand vs Namibia takes place tonight on Friday September 15, 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm BST and 9pm local time.
The Stadium de Toulouse will host the game.
Where to watch New Zealand vs Namibia
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s game will be shown live and free to air on ITV4, with coverage starting at 7:15pm.
Live stream: 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 Sport’s live match blog.
New Zealand vs Namibia team news
The All Blacks suffered a key blow ahead of kick-off against France, with captain Sam Cane a shock late withdrawal through injury as Foster was forced into a back-row reshuffle that included an unexpected start for Tupou Vaa’i.
Cane misses out again this week, with centre Jordie Barrett, prop Tyrel Lomax and flanker Shannon Frizell also sidelined. Barrett is back in training after a knee problem, but won’t be risked.
New Zealand have called up Ethan Blackadder to their squad since the loss to France, with Foster wanting to bolster his loose forward options after wing Emoni Narawa suffered a pre-tournament back injury that will see him play no part in the World Cup.
David Havili, Ofa TuÊ»ungafasi and Brodie Retallick are among the players introduced to the starting lineup having been replacements last week as Foster makes nine changes for Namibia.
Ardie Savea captains the team 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 are all handed their World Cup debuts.
It’s four changes from Namibia - and former Springboks - head coach Allister Coetzee, who brings in full-back Cliven Loubser, prop Jason Benade, flanker Prince Gaoseb and centre Le Roux Malan following the defeat by 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 lineups
New Zealand XV: B Barrett; Clarke, Leinert-Brown, Havili, Fainga'anuku; McKenzie, Roigard; Tuungafasi, Taukei'aho, Laulala; Retallick, Whitelock; Jacobson, Papali'i, Savea (c)
Replacements: Coles, De Groot, Newell, S Barrett, Vaa’i, Smith, Mo’unga, Ioane
Namibia XV: Loubser; Mouton, Deysel (c), Malan, Rossouw; Swanepoel, Stevens; Benade, Van Jaarsveld Coetzee; Retief, Uanivi; Conradie, Gaoseb, Hardwick
Replacements: Van der Westhuizen, Sethie, Shifuka, Van Lill, Booysen, Katjijeko, Theron, Greyling
New Zealand vs Namibia referee
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 defeat by Italy continued their unwanted run of losing every match they’ve ever played at the Rugby World Cup.
That is a sequence of 24 games, 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 that spell, being hammered 58-14 in London in 2015 and then 71-9 in Tokyo four years ago.
Expect a similarly seriously one-sided scoreline tonight as a wounded New Zealand look to get their campaign up and running with a flourish to state their own title ambitions.
New Zealand to win, by at least 50 points.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
New Zealand wins: 2
Namibia wins: 0
New Zealand vs Namibia latest odds
New Zealand to win: 1/500
Namibia to win: 50/1
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).