|Sonny Bill Williams in action against PNG. Photo. 2013RLWC|
Rugby League World Cup holders New Zealand powered past Papua New Guinea 56-6 to march into the quarter finals.
A first half hat-trick by Sonny Bill Williams was part of a resounding 10-try victory for the 2008 champions, who maintained their 100 per cent record in the competition.
The Kiwis looked dangerous from the outset, testing a very suspect PNG defence. With just 90 seconds on the clock, the breakthrough came when Kieran Foran's clever kick was touched down by the diving Bryson Goodwin for the first try of the match. A neat conversion by Shaun Johnson made it the perfect start for his side.
Struggling to withstand the Kiwi onslaught, the Kumuls found themselves pushed back onto their own line. Sensing an opportunity Foran sent a well-judged kick across the field for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to touchdown and another conversion by Johnson brought up a deserved 12-0 lead.
Moments later the Kiwis were in again, Dean Whare's audacious pass between the legs gave Tuivasa-Sheck his second try of the match with Johnson once again adding the extras.
Intent to pile on the agony, New Zealand were relentless in attack. This time Foran’s clever offload enabled Sonny Bill Williams to open his account for the tournament, Johnson's routine conversion giving his side a 24-point lead.
Just as PNG began to find a foothold in the game, New Zealand scored again. A move that started with a powerful run from Manu Vatuvei eventually found Williams who crossed for his second try with Johnson converting to make it 30-0.
The Kiwis kept up the momentum and with just over 10 minutes of the half remaining, Williams turned provider for Frank-Paul Nu'uausala, who glided across the line.
With just seconds of the half remaining, New Zealand broke through again, Johnson's meandering run scattering defenders to give Williams his hat-trick. The scrum-half made it 40-0 at the break with his conversion.
Determined not to go down with a whimper Papua New Guinea came out for the second half in determined mood. Jessie Joe Nandye drove through the Kiwi defence and found Dion Aiye who crossed for their first points of the game. Francis Paniu's well struck conversion brought the biggest cheer of the night so far.
Fuelled with new found confidence the Kumuls poured forward, but their efforts came to nothing as New Zealand ruthlessly cut through their defence. A sweeping passing move enabled Whare to go over in the corner and Johnson restored the 40-point deficit with another successful conversion.
The New Zealand centre crossed again soon after with Johnson converting. Playing with ruthlessly efficiency, the Kiwis went further ahead when Alex Glenn did well to collect a bouncing ball and found Elijah Taylor, who scored their tenth try of the match.
With just minutes remaining Papua New Guinea had the final say when Wellington Albert crashed over for their second try, which once again brought wild cheering from the Headingley faithful.
New Zealand will be back at Headingley for the quarter-finals to play either Scotland or Italy.
New Zealand Team
1 Josh Hoffman
2 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
3 Dean Whare
4 Bryson Goodwin
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Kieran Foran
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Ben Matulino
9 Isaac Luke
10 Jesse Bromwich
11 Alex Glenn
12 Sonny Bill Williams
13 Elijah Taylor
14 Sam Moa
15 Sam Kasiano
16 Frank-Paul Nu'uausala
17 Thomas Leuluai
Papua New Guinea Team
1 David Mead
2 Josiah Abavu
3 Menzie Yere
4 Francis Paniu
5 Nene McDonald
6 Ray Thompson
7 Dion Aiye
8 Neville Costigan
9 Charlie Wabo
10 Joe Bruno
11 Jessie Joe Nandye
12 Jason Chan
13 Sebastian Pandia
14 Wellington Albert
15 Paul Aiton
16 Jason Tali
17 Mark Mexico
New Zealand 56 (Tries: Goodwin, Tuivasa-Sheck 2, Bill Williams 3, Nu'uausala, Whare 2, Taylor: Goals: Johnson 8).
Papua New Guinea 10 (Tries: Aiye, Albert; Goals: Paniu).
Referee: Ashley Klein (Australia).