Ruthless All Blacks give Italy a rugby lesson in Lyon
MATCH REPORT: The All Blacks reminded the rugby world what they are capable of with a 96-17 win over Italy in their Pool A match in Lyon on Friday.
New Zealand scored 14 tries in a ruthless display of running rugby against an Italian side that was already blown away in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Scrumhalf Aaron Smith got a hat-trick in the first half.
The win moved the All Blacks into second spot in the pool, level on points with Italy. The All Blacks will finish the pool phase with a match against Uruguay next week, while Italy will have another daunting task against hosts France.
The All Blacks opened the scoring in the sixth minute after putting Italy under pressure with some relentless attacking play. After numerous phases, Will Jordan collected the ball from a Jordie Barrett cross-kick before acrobatically diving over in the corner for a try.
Richie Mo’unga added the extra two points with a tricky conversion.
The Italians eventually got their first points in the 10th minute with a Tommaso Allan penalty.
The All Blacks then showed their power in the pack with a strong driving maul inside Italy’s 22 before Aaron Smith sneaked in behind to grab the ball and score his team’s second try. Mo’unga made it an 11-point lead with the conversion.
Things got even better for New Zealand moments after the restart when Savea broke through the midfield and sprinted downfield before he found support on his inside in the form of Jordie Barrett. The inside centre then threw a long pass to Mark Tele’a who bulldozed his way past a few defenders to score the third try of the game.
Mo’unga once again added the extras with the conversion.
Italy’s defence was looking terrible and they were exposed again a few minutes later with Savea running through for an easy try after gathering the ball from a line-out.
Things went from bad to worse for Italy in the 27th minute after Smith weaved his way to the tryline after another strong driving maul. Mo’unga made it a 32-point lead with the conversion.
The legendary scrumhalf completed his hat-trick in the 34th minute after collecting an inside pass from Jordie Barrett before racing away for an easy score which Mo’unga converted again.
The All Blacks went on to close the first half with another try to Savea and it was the maul which laid the platform once again.
The Italians put up a better fight in the opening few minutes of the second half and after sustained pressure and slick passing, Ange Capuozzo was put into space to dive over in the corner for a try in the 48th minute. Allan made it a seven-pointer with the conversion.
However, the All Blacks hit back almost immediately when an Italian kick was charged in the 22 and after two phases, Brodie Retallick crashed over for a try in the 50th minute. Mo’unga was on target with the conversion.
Some silky running and passing saw the All Blacks punish the Italians once again a few minutes later. this time it was Teale’a breaking through the defence before offloading to Dalton Papali’i who had enough power to propel himself to the tryline.
It was a 53-point ball game after Mo’unga slotted his ninth conversion.
All Blacks were far superior in the set-pieces and it was at a line-out in the 61st minute where they bamboozled the Italians. After collecting the ball, it looked like New Zealand were going to form a maul again. However, the ball was quickly moved to the short side with Dane Coles sprinting away for a try.
Damian McKenzie provided some more pace off the bench and he added his name to the scoresheet with a try in the 67th minute after some more poor defending from the Italians. McKenzie also produced a perfect conversion after that.
The All Blacks even had the bounce of the ball in their favour as a kick in behind the Italian defence eventually resulted in a second try for Jordan. McKenzie added the extras with the conversion.
Another try for Coles and one for Anton Lienert-Brown pushed the score closer to 100 before Italy wing Monty Ioane finished the scoring with a try in the corner.
Man of the match: Scrumhalf Aaron Smith had a fantastic first half and he also scored three tries in the first 40. Wing Mark Tele’a was excellent out wide and he was just a hard man to bring down win he was going at full speed. Tele’a’s back-three teammate Will Jordan was also a handful for the Italians throughout the match and he scored two tries in the win. However, the award goes to New Zealand captain Ardie Savea, who was just a powerhouse in the match. He got his team over the advantage line every time he had the ball and he scored two tries as well.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Jordan 2, Smith 3, Tele’a, Savea 2, Retallick, Papali’i, Coles 2, McKenzie, Lienert-Brown
Cons: Mo’unga 9, McKenzie 4
Tries: Capuozzo, Ioane
Cons: Allan, Garbisi
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Tele’a, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Cam Roigard, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan; 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Simone Ferrari 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Toa Halafahi, 22 Martin Page-Relo, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia) & Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)