All Blacks respond to World Cup fears with 10-try rout
IN answer to critics quick to doubt New Zealand’s World Cup credentials, Steve Hansen’s side bounced back after the 16-9 defeat to Ireland with a tentry rout of the Azzurri.
The All Blacks ruthlessly dealt blow after blow to the hosts at a rain-soaked Stadio Olimpico, with wing Jordie Barrett feasting himself on four tries.
Scalded for their failure to score a try in Dublin and being run close by England, the All Blacks’ potency in attack had been questioned.
But the backline responded magnificently – and quickly – to overturn their autumn form with Beauden Barrett offloading to scrum-half TJ Perenara to open the scoring in the ninth minute.
Full-back Damian McKenzie, one of only four players retained from last week’s defeat, then grabbed the first of his three tries after being released by lock Patrick Tuipulotu. Adding another before half-time along to Jordie Barrett’s two tries in the opening 40 minutes.
Leading 31-3 at the break, two quickfire tries from centre Ngani Laumape and Beauden Barrett continued the frenzied try-scoring.
McKenzie completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute while Jordie Barrett crossed twice in the final ten minutes.
The result eases the pressure on Hansen but leaves Italy head coach Conor O’Shea with plenty to analyse before the teams meet in their World Cup pool next year.