TOKYO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Double-defending champions New Zealand lined up to face Namibia in what bookmakers rated the biggest mismatch in rugby history on Sunday - and duly justified the 1,000-1 ON odds by hammering the African part-timers 71-9.
New Zealand went into the Pool B game having never lost in the group stages and unbeaten since the 2007 quarter-finals, while Namibia had never won a Rugby World Cup match in 21 attempts - their last victory over a Tier One nation coming when they beat a touring Ireland side in 1991.
Both streaks were duly extended by one on Sunday, though the bookies might have been a tad nervous as the All Blacks led only 10-9 after 35 minutes.
The flood-gates opened after that, with New Zealand scoring 11 tries in all, though with Namibia far from embarrassed after a spirited display.
“That price of 1,000-1 ON is the shortest we have ever offered at the start of a rugby match,” said a spokesman for British bookmaker William Hill. “This is Manchester City v the local pub team, but as we know with David and Goliath, stranger things have happened.”
William Hill said they took a total of 66 pounds in bets on Namibia but did have to pay out to one punter, who backed New Zealand to the tune of 50,000 euros.
Reporting by Mitch Phillips; editing by tony Lawrence