New Zealand have put World Cup newcomers Jamaica to the sword, winning 68-6 in their second Group C clash as Jamaica scored a historic World Cup try.
The Reggae Warriors got off to a positive start, recovering a short kick-off before forcing a repeat set only a minute into the contest.
But only minutes later, Michael Maguire’s Kiwis worked their way down the field before Joey Manu, playing at five-eighth, threw a lofted pass for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to open the scoring.
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Peta Hiku crossed for New Zealand’s second try in the 9th minute, spinning the ball from the left sideline to the right courtesy of some smart ball-playing by halfback Kieran Foran.
Another probing Manu run sparked Watene-Zelezniak’s second before the Warriors winger flew onto a pass from his own 20-metre line to complete his hattrick in only 18 minutes.
“He is doing a Josh Addo-Carr, let’s trot baby, he has a hattrick in 18-and-a-half minutes,” Fox League’s Andrew Voss said.
Jamaica then stemmed the flow of points for 10 minutes before Marata Niukore ducked underneath a defender before charging into the tryline.
Niukore, who can play in the middle and on an edge, was slotted into the centres with Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jordan Rapana sitting out.
New Zealand later scored off a simple overlap from a scrum before Jeremy Marshall-King grounded a Watene-Zelezniak kick for the Kiwis’ seventh.
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“Jeremy Marshall-King has done a magic trick to force this ball, there’d be no prouder brother than Benji seeing him on this stage in the World Cup,” Voss said.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad crossed for his first four-pointer to kick off the scoring in the second half, throwing a big dummy before burying his head down.
Backrower Briton Nikora later crossed almost untouched before Marshall-King finished an 80-metre effort, once again grounding a Watene-Zelezniak kick.
“Appreciate the skill from Watene-Zelezniak on the wing, the modern day winger these days you have to be able to do everything,” commentator Jordan Turner said.
“Gone are the days when you just have to be fast and run down the wing, but we see some unbelievable skill from him to be able to kick the ball and find his teammates inside.
“He has also been able to score and finish himself and now he is kicking goals.”
“You could put his hand down the S-bend of a toilet and find a gold watch right now, he is on fire,” Voss added.
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Watene-Zelezniak added to his ridiculous tally, scoring his fourth try, hobbling to the tryline with cramp before leaving the field in the 62nd minute.
Brandon Smith later charged his way to the line for a try of his own, before micking the effort seven minutes later for his second.
With only five minutes on the clock, Jamaica made rugby league history, with fullback Ben Jones-Bishop scoring the nation’s first ever World Cup try.
Halfback Kieran Rush kicked the ball downfield, which bobbled in between New Zealand defenders, allowing Jones-Bishop to swoop and score.
“It is there for Jamaica, have a look at the reaction, Ben Jones-Bishop, hold the front page of the Jamaican Post, there’s your front page story,” Voss said.
“Jamaica’s first ever try at a World Cup, and it goes to one of their greats, the man who has been there since day one… even the trainers are celebrating.”
“You go down in history as the first try scorer for Jamaica ever,” commentator Willie Poching added.