Reigning champions New Zealand put in a stellar performance in defeating Scotland 40-4 at Headingley to set up a semi-final clash with either England or France.


The Kiwis put five tries past their opponents in a dominant first half display. A revival after the break saw the Bravehearts push their opponents, but New Zealand powered their way through to continue their pursuit of back-to-back Rugby League World Cup titles.


It was a ferocious start to the match by both sides. First Sonny Bill Williams went tumbling down with a neck injury under a heavy challenge, before a clattering tackle left Scotland's Adam Walker biting the dust.


Despite the Bravehearts' early endeavour, the Kiwis soon showed their class. Issac Lukes electric pace split the Scottish defence before some slick passing down the line enabled Bryson Goodwin to cross in the corner. A rare missed conversion from Shaun Johnson meant the score line remained at 4-0.


Unable to stop the flow of Kiwi attacks, Scotland quickly fell further behind. A lapse in their defensive organisation allowed Jesse Bromwich space and he duly took advantage, powering through under the posts. This time Johnson found the target with his conversion.


Now in full stride, New Zealand were proving impossible to stop. Clever inter-changing passes stretched the Scottish backs once again and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was left unmarked as he scored his fifth try of the tournament. Johnson was unable to find the mark from a tight angle but the Kiwis were ahead 14-0 after 20 minutes of play.


With seemingly endless attacking options they struck again. The peerless Kieron Foran held his nerve to find a surging Frank Pritchard who dived over for a rare try from the big forward. Once again Johnson found his range to extend the lead.


With 10 minutes remaining of the first half Williams sliced through the middle of the Bravehearts' defence and offloaded to Johnson who had a clear run to the line. He ended the half on a high by converting for a 26-point advantage at the break.


A rejuvenated Scotland came out fighting at the start of the second period, but much like the opening minutes of the match, their efforts were in vain. Having held New Zealand at bay for nine minutes, Tuivasa-Sheck then showed his evasive skills before running the length of the pitch for his second of the game with Johnsons conversion making it 32-0.


Strolling towards a comfortable victory, New Zealand were in no mood to take their foot off the gas. Goodwin did well to prevent being carried into touch and found Manu Vatuvei who collected his first try of the match.


With 15 minutes remaining, the moment the crowd were waiting for arrived. Despite being surrounded by a sea of black shirts, Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough produced a superb pass to put Alex Hurst over in the corner. It brought rapturous applause from the Headingley faithful


Keen to re-establish control, the Kiwis poured forward again and Goodwin claimed a second try after he made the most of a pinpoint kick by Foran. Johnson couldn't convert but it didnt matter.


The Kiwis now await the result of Saturday's second quarter-final clash between England and France to find out who they will face in the first of a semi-final double header at Wembley on Saturday November 23 (1:00pm).




New Zealand Team


1 Kevin Locke


2 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck


3 Dean Whare


4 Bryson Goodwin


5 Manu Vatuvei


6 Kieran Foran


7 Shaun Johnson


8 Ben Matulino


9 Issac Luke


10 Jesse Bromwich


11 Frank Pritchard


12 Sonny Bill Williams


13 Simon Mannering


Interchange


14 Elijah Taylor


15 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves


16 Frank-Paul Nu'uausala


17 Sam Moa




Scotland Team


1 Matthew Russell


2 David Scott


3 Ben Hellewell


4 Kane Linnett


5 Alex Hurst


6 Danny Brough


7 Peter Wallace


8 Adam Walker


9 Ian Henderson


10 Luke Douglas


11 Danny Addy


12 Brett Phillips


13 Ben Kavanagh


Interchange


14 Andrew Henderson


15 Oliver Wilkes


16 Alex Szostak


17 Sam Barlow




Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)




New Zealand: 40 Tries: Goodwin 2, Bromwich, Tuivasa-Sheck 2, Pritchard, Johnson, Vatuvei. Goals: Johnson 4


Scotland: 4 Try: Hurst




Attendance: 16,207