New Zealand re­acts to Ir­ish loss with 68-10 win in Italy

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Italy felt the full ef­fect of a New Zealand back­lash as the All Blacks strolled to a 68-10 win at Sta­dio Olimpico yes­ter­day.

A re­ac­tion was ex­pected from the All Blacks af­ter a shock loss to Ire­land last week­end for the first time in 111 years, and the end of an 18-test win­ning streak.

"We needed to bounce back af­ter fall­ing from All Blacks stan­dards last week," cap­tain Sam Cane said. "The way we gelled and man­aged to keep the score­board tick­ing over through 80 min­utes was pleas­ing."

Italy has never beaten New Zealand, and knew the best it could hope for was dam­age lim­i­ta­tion.

The dam­age was lim­ited to 10 tries, all but one of them con­verted, leav­ing Italy coach Conor O'Shea to scrape up some pos­i­tives from his home de­but.

"We're very com­pet­i­tive peo­ple, we don't like los­ing," O'Shea said. "What we're try­ing to do is build a team which will play for 80 min­utes and last for 80 min­utes.

"We saw a team that were work­ing, that weren't hang­ing their heads ... that was an in­cred­i­bly coura­geous per­for­mance against a great side. A lot of mis­takes I know, but I look at the courage of the play­ers. If that's our start­ing point we will go far."

The Az­zurri couldn't cope with New Zealand's pace and power, but re­place­ment Tom­maso Boni man­aged a con­so­la­tion try 13 min­utes from time, in only his sec­ond ap­pear­ance.

New Zealand made 12 changes to the run-on side, mak­ing it youth­ful and rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced. Two play­ers made their de­but. Coach Steve Hansen said some played their way into next week's re­match against Ire­land.

"It bodes well for next week," Hansen said. "Bet­ter still, it bodes well for the fu­ture, for next year and be­yond."

It took just four min­utes for New Zealand to score its first try as, fol­low­ing a five-me­ter scrum, fly­half Aaron Cru­den and winger Is­rael Dagg com­bined to put cen­ter Malakai Fek­i­toa through a hole, and in.

Italy went close to a try fol­low­ing a 40-me­ter break by Edoardo Padovani. Mo­ments later, All Blacks lock Scott Bar­rett was pe­nal­ized for off­side, and Italy took the three points.

The All Blacks were of­fload­ing the ball at al­most ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, and their sec­ond try came from a won­der­ful short pass from Bar­rett to prop Char­lie Fau­muina, who forced it over.

New Zealand had an 18-point lead with less than 21 min­utes on the clock af­ter a rolling maul was brought down just short of the line, but lock Pa­trick Tuip­u­lotu barged his way over out wide.

Min­utes later, cen­ter An­ton Lienert-Brown off­loaded to Dagg, who broke from the 22me­ter line, sprint­ing clear of Padovani.

Wy­att Crock­ett ex­tended his world record of con­sec­u­tive test wins to 44, and the prop marked the oc­ca­sion with New Zealand's fourth try shortly be­fore half­time, from a scrum.

Five min­utes af­ter the break, flanker El­liot Dixon raced 40 me­ters down the right flank be­fore of­fload­ing to No. 8 Steven Lu­atua for another five-pointer.

Fek­i­toa scored his sec­ond try col­lect­ing Crock­ett's pass and run­ning it in un­chal­lenged from 20 me­ters out.

Dixon col­lected a loose ball af­ter Matt Todd was hauled down inches from the line and dove over in the left cor­ner an hour in. Lima Sopoaga, who had just re­placed Cru­den, saw his con­ver­sion come back off the in­side of the right post to leave the score at 54-3.

The sell-out crowd of more than 60,000 fi­nally had some­thing lo­cal to cheer for in the 67th minute when Edoardo Gori in­ter­cepted a loose pass and off­loaded to Boni, who sprinted 50 me­ters down the right to score Italy's only try.

Tom­maso Al­lan con­verted, but debu­tant Rieko Ioane and Waisake Na­halo added two more tries in­side the fi­nal eight min­utes with Sopoaga mak­ing no mis­take from the spot.

Italy's Gi­ulio Bisegni, left, and Edoardo Padovani, right, tackle New Zealand's Malakai Fek­i­toa

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