New Zealand: 40 (Tries: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2, Bryson Goodwin 2, Jesse Bromwich, Frank Pritchard, Shaun Johnson; Goals: Shaun Johnson 4)
Scotland: 4 (Try: Alex Hurst)
The art of deception. Not a common theme in rugby league, but one that was on display in the first of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup 2013 quarter final matches.
Although the black jerseys were the clear favourites, for the first 15 or so minutes you’d be forgiven for asking yourself which Kiwi team had shown up that night in Yorkshire. But typical of the New Zealanders, it took a couple of quick breaks and dashes in the name of Kevin Locke and Bryson Goodwin to get the party started.
Second rower Sonny Bill Williams went down like a sack of spuds soon afterward, no doubt sending a shiver down the spine not only of the cross-code superstar himself but the Kiwi coaching staff and support base alike. In the gutsy tackle from two of the Scotland Bravehearts a moment earlier, it appeared Williams’ neck had been tweaked. Much to the relief of the New Zealand contingent, he got to his feet shortly afterwards. With the side fired up, Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored a bolstering try down field, which would be one of his two of the evening. As the Kiwis’ momentum built in the first half, the only dampener was Shaun Johnson’s wayward kicking game – which was unusual for the Warriors’ no.7 who has barely missed a shot this tournament.
Much like the first half, the second of the match got off to a slow, untidy start from New Zealand. Only when Tuivasa-Sheck snatched a loose ball and ran the length of the pitch to score did the Kiwis wake up again. Manu Vatuvei crossed the line soon later before Scotland’s Alex Hurst powered across in the 66th minute.
While the Kiwis dominated the pitch and the scoreboard, a fighting performance from the Scotland Bravehearts was witnessed that evening with useful contributions from Broncos-turned-Panther halfback Peter Wallace and the well-earned try from Hurst.
Player of the Match
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. One replay of his step and speed will convince you outright.
One would hope the Scots will walk home with their heads held high. Their nation is dominated by football and rugby union and does not have the depth of players to select that is afforded to nations such as Samoa, Australia and New Zealand. They came, they saw and boy, they fought. New Zealand will be mentally prepared for the next battle ahead and should hope to high heaven none of their key players produce any injuries beforehand.