Sloppy All Blacks cruise past brave Azzurri
MATCH REPORT: Hooker Dane Coles scored twice in 10 minutes as New Zealand beat Italy 47-9 at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
Coles took his tally to 20 tries in 79 Tests against a disciplined Azzurri, who made the visitors work hard until the final quarter in Rome.
“Italy have to take a lot credit for the way they played, they put us under a lot of pressure,” Coles told Amazon Prime.
“Their kicking game was good as well, we dropped a lot of ball back there. We had to work bloody hard,” he added.
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Flank Michele Lamaro captained the hosts for the first time in Kiwi Kieran Crowley’s maiden game in charge.
Back row forward Sam Cane skippered the world No. 1 ranked team a year on from his last Test start.
Loose forward Shannon Frizell returned to Ian Foster’s side for the first time since the 27-year-old had criminal charges against him reduced in September after an assault at a nightclub.
Unlike their two previous matches, hammerings over the USA and Wales, the All Blacks failed to score early as the hosts controlled the opening 25 minutes by profiting on the away side’s knock-ons and lack of discipline at the breakdown.
Crowley’s men turned down two simple shots at goal before scrumhalf Finlay Christie opened scoring for the visitors as the Scotland-born 26-year-old snuck over from an Italy scrum five metres from the home side’s tryline.
Foster’s men crossed again just after the half-hour mark as the Hurricanes’ Coles rumbled to score from a rolling maul before Paolo Garbisi kicked a penalty.
Just before the break 34-year-old Coles claimed his second of the game as New Zealand equalled Argentina’s record of 92 Test tries in a year they reached in 2003.
In first-half additional time Garbisi, who has scored 83 points in seven games for Montpellier this term, slotted another penalty to make it 21-6 at the interval.
The first points of the second half came from Garbisi’s boot as he kicked a penalty just before the hour mark.
Despite New Zealand’s slow start after the break, the floodgates opened with 17 minutes to play.
Sevu Reece sidestepped to the whitewash to take the Pumas’ try record, Coles’ replacement Asafo Aumua claimed two tries, and No. 8 Hoskins Sotutu crossed unopposed.
Next week the All Blacks head to Ireland, while Italy host Argentina.
Pens: Garbisi 3
For New Zealand
Tries: Christie, Coles 2, Reece, Aumua 2, Sotutu
Cons: Mo’unga 6
Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Federico Mori, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Renato Giammariolo, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 4 David Sisi, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Braam Steyn, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Carlo Canna.
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Josh Lord, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 David Havili, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)