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SBW scores hat-trick as Kiwis crush PNG

Code-swapping star Sonny Bill Williams scored a hat-trick as defending champions New Zealand steamrolled Papua New Guinea 56-10 on Friday in their final Rugby League World Cup Pool B match.
SBW scores hat-trick as Kiwis crush PNG
by AAP

LEEDS, England, Nov 8 AFP - Code-swapping star Sonny Bill Williams scored a hat-trick as defending champions New Zealand steamrolled Papua New Guinea 56-10 on Friday in their final Rugby League World Cup Pool B match.

The Kiwis scored 10 tries in total in an ominous broadside ahead of next weekend's quarter-finals, while halfback Shaun Johnson followed up on his 24 points in the previous 48-0 victory over France with 16 more from the boot.

New Zealand completely dominated PNG, their speed off the ruck led by mazy running from Issac Luke and Johnson offering up wave after wave of attacking lines that led to easy yards up the middle of the paddock.

Man of the match Williams, who as a centre won the Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks on home soil in 2011 and is bidding to become the first player to win World Cups in both codes, scored three tries in a total of seven in the first half.

He was rested from last weekend's demolition of France, which followed the Kiwis' opening 42-24 victory over Samoa.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dean Whare both crossed twice for New Zealand.

The two opening wins had already assured New Zealand of a place in the quarter-finals, and coach Stephen Kearney was left to shuffle his squad against Papua New Guinea.

"There's a lot of improvements for us to work on. We've just got to keep on working and step it up another level," said Williams in his ninth rugby league Test appearance, with 19 All Blacks games also to his credit.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney added: "I thought there were some glimpses tonight of some pretty good form.

"Papua New Guinea came out after halftime and really put it to us, put in a great effort and made life difficult for us.

"We'll have a good look at the tape and assess everyone and see how everyone pulls up."

Williams opened his account by bouncing off a would-be tackler and crashing over as his side charged to a 24-0 lead after 17 minutes.

The cross-code star went over for his second in the 27th minute, shooting through three defenders and affording himself a big smile after almost repeating his gaffe against Samoa when he slipped over the dead-ball line when touching down.

After a selfless offload to Frank Paul Nuuausala, Williams notched his third try on the halftime hooter to lift his side to a 40-0 lead at halftime.

The 18,000-plus capacity crowd at Leeds' Headingley Carnegie Stadium erupted when PNG halfback Dion Aiye crossed under the posts, while Wellington Albert scored a late consolation try for PNG.

"There was a couple of great tries - it would have been nice to have a couple more," said Kumuls coach Adrian Lam.

"They're the world champions and were red hot in the first half, I was just really proud of the team for hanging in there."

Click Here for NZ v PNG Match Stats





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