The Kiwis once again proved too good for their opponents, racking up 26 unanswered points in the first half hour to put this last eight match well beyond doubt inside the first half.
Winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and centre Bryson Goodwin grabbed two each of the Kiwis eight tries as they became the first side to book their place at Wembley for next Saturday’s double header semi-final.
Scotland received the ball from the kick-off and earned a penalty on just the second tackle, only for Danny Brough not to find touch. That meant an early inspection of the Kiwi attack, and there was a short stoppage after Sonny Bill Williams got some nasty treatment on his first hit-up.
The Bravehearts made an intense start to match the guts and courage they had shown to get to this stage, and Brough’s smart kick forced a drop out.
On the Kiwis first foray up the other end, Kieran Foran’s high kick caused problems for the Scotland defence, who allowed it to bounce, but Kevin Locke was adjudged to have knocked on before grounding the ball for what would have been the game’s first try.
A chip kick by Peter Wallace forced the world champions to drop out for the second time in the first six minutes, but they weren’t to be held back for long.
The score didn’t seem to affect Scotland greatly, and they should perhaps have made more of a chance created by Brough himself, when he burst through a gap and should have found Matty Russell on his right for at least half a chance of a try, but he chose to go left and a grateful Dean Whare intercepted.
Then came the 15 minute spell where the Kiwis took control of the game, up to the half hour mark.
They were just too quick and strong for their opponents, who were made up of no fewer than seven part-time players.
Jesse Bromwich ducked and spun out of a few tackles to go in under the posts after the Kiwis had retained possession in slightly fortuitous circumstances, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck benefited from an overlap on the right hand side to stretch the score out to 14-0.
Sonny Bill got in on the act on the 30 minute mark, barging through a few tacklers and putting Shaun Johnson around the full-back for a simple score, and Johnson’s third successful conversion made it 26-0.
Bizarrely, the Kiwis momentum was halted by themselves. Manu Vatuvei went on a rampaging run straight from the kick-off following the fifth try, leaving several defenders in his wake, only for Johnson to cause an obstruction and concede a penalty.
That enabled Scotland to stop the rot, and they ended the first half at least in competition with their opponents, turning down a kickable penalty on the hooter.
Scotland had a couple of chances at the start of the second half, and missed a golden opportunity when Brough knocked back a high kick from Wallace to Russell, only for options to run out on the left hand side as players had cut inside.
It was from a second try chance for Scotland that the Kiwis grabbed their first score after the break. Brough took on the defence out wide and found Kane Linnett, whose disappointing kick was caught on the full by Tuivasa-Sheck, and the flying wingman went 80 metres unopposed for try number six.
On 54 minutes, Vatuvei and Goodwin looked to have linked up in the tightest of areas down the left flank for a try, only for the video referee to rule out on the basis Goodwin had put a foot in touch, a call that looked slightly harsh.
Vatuvei got his score minutes later when first Goodwin went close, and offloaded to the big man who powered his way over.
But the next score got the loudest cheer of the night, because it was Scotland who finally got a reward for their efforts on 65 minutes.
Brough, the man subject to such debate in the months building up to the World Cup, kicked a fine 40-20 to set the platform, and his attacking run got the Kiwis on the back foot. Linnett took the ball on 15 metres from the line and as the Kiwis backtracked, he sent it out to left winger Alex Hurst to get the Bravehearts on the board.
But the Kiwis had the final say, with Goodwin adding his second try, as they hit the 40 point mark for the fourth consecutive game at the World Cup.
Photo courtesy of www.swpix.com
New Zealand: Locke, Tuivasa-Sheck, Whare, Goodwin, Vatuvei, Foran, Johnson, Matulino, Luke, Bromwich, Pritchard, Williams, Mannering. Interchanges: Taylor, Waerea-Hargreaves, Nu’uausala, Moa.
Scorers: Tries – Goodwin (8, 71), Bromwich (15), Tuivasa-Sheck (20, 50), Pritchard (29), Johnson (30), Vatuvei (57) Goals – Johnson 4/8
Scotland: Russell, Scott, Hellewell, Linnett, Hurst, Brough, Wallace, A Walker, I Henderson, Douglas, Addy, B Philips, Kavanagh. Interchanges: A Henderson, Wilkes, Szostak, Barlow.
Scorers: Tries – Hurst (65) Goals – Brough 0/1
Referee: Ben Cummins
Venue: Headingley, Leeds