Ruthless All Blacks hammer Italy in Rome

Jordie Barrett (Getty)
Jordie Barrett (Getty)

Cape Town - New Zealand ended their November international series on a positive note with a 66-3 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday.

As expected, the Azzurri were on the receiving end of a backlash as the All Blacks bounced back from their defeat to Ireland with a clinical performance. It was a completely one-sided affair as the world champions ran in 10 tries while they prevented their hosts from dotting down. Italy's discipline let them down as they conceded too many penalties, which the visitors duly capitalised on.

The opening exchanges were scrappy with plenty of handling errors. The All Blacks were especially guilty of knocking on but took eight minutes to click into gear and score the match's first try.

Dane Coles made a sniping blindside break and released Jordie Barrett on the right wing with Barrett feeding TJ Perenara on the inside who had the pace to make it over the line. Beauden Barrett failed to convert.

Soon afterwards, Tommaso Allan would cut the deficit to two with a penalty out on the left-hand touchline. But in the 17th minute the visitors had their second. Patrick Tuipulotu ran a beautiful line off Kieran Read's pop pass and slipped the ball to Damian McKenzie who dotted down under the posts.

On the half-hour mark, the All Blacks had their third when Beauden Barrett put in a deft grubber kick through which allowed McKenzie to dot down for his brace.

All Blacks hooker Coles, back from a year out with torn knee ligaments, was having an impressive game and once again turned creator when he showed soft hands to put McKenzie through the gap, the full-back timing the final pass expertly for Jordie Barrett, who showed searing pace to outsprint the Italian cover defence.

The away side would have one more try before the break and it came after the hooter when the Azzurri were penalised for collapsing the maul. After taking the ball up around close quarters through the forwards from the line-out, the ball was quickly swung out to Beauden Barrett who caught the hosts' defence napping with the cross-kick to the opposite wing for his brother Jordie Barrett to outjump his marker for the finish as the All Blacks took a commanding 31-3 lead.

It was much of the same after the interval, with the All Blacks in cruise control, scoring two quick-fire tries in the opening five minutes of the second-half. First, Read offloaded for Ngani Laumape, who side-stepped his marker to complete a good finish before Coles found Beauden Barrett with a long throw to the back of the line-out as the fly-half sped away under the posts.

New Zealand went past the 50-point mark shortly afterwards when replacement fly-half Richie Mo'unga's chip kick through was snaffled upon by McKenzie, who claimed his hat-trick.

With eight minutes to go, the All Blacks began to really turn on the style when Laumape got the offload away for replacement hooker Nathan Harris, who put in a brilliant diagonal grubber through with his left foot for Jordie Barrett to complete his hat-trick. Mo'unga's conversion took New Zealand up to 59-3.

The All Blacks would end with one final flourish as Jordie Barrett grabbed his fourth try of the game as superb interplay between backs and forwards once again completed the 66-3 rout.


Italy 3 (3)

Penalty: Tommaso Allan

New Zealand 66 (31)

Tries: TJ Perenara, Damian McKenzie (3), Jordie Barrett (4), Ngani Laumape, Beauden Barrett

Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5), Richie Mo'unga (3)



15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Andrea Lovotti

Substitutes: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Edoardo Padovani

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Dalton Papali'i, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Rieko Ioane

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