Beaten by France in the opener, the All Blacks put themselves back in the race for the quarter-finals on Friday, giving a beating to the Squadra Azzurra (96-17).
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Not an ounce of doubt for the All Blacks. Faced with Italians who dreamed of bringing them down, New Zealand did not have to force its talent to win, Friday September 29, at Groupama Stadium in Lyon (96-17). A sparkling success punctuated by 14 tries, which places it in a favorable position for qualification for the quarter-finals of this World Cup, before challenging Uruguay next Thursday for the last group match.
Defeated in the opening against France (27-13), Ian Foster’s men knew that they had no room for error otherwise they would experience a surprise elimination in this group A. But they never trembled against the Squadra Azzurra, the score increasing as the minutes passed. After only 22 minutes of play, evening captain Ardie Savea already scored his team’s fourth try to secure the offensive bonus (28-3).
Hat-trick for Aaron Smith
Superior in all sectors of the game, the Blacks benefited from the return from injury of certain executives. Among them, Jordie Barrett – absent during the historic defeat suffered against South Africa in preparation as well as at the start of the competition – shone, sending a foot pass to a spring-loaded Will Jordan to open the score (8th, 7-0). The center put together a good contest and a touch found in the 22 transalpine meters to bring a second try (14th, 14-3), before finding himself again on the last pass to offer a third personal pawn to Aaron Smith (34th , 42-3).
In the middle of all this, Mark Telea found the goal after an 80-meter New Zealand comeback (19th, 21-3) and second row Sam Whitelock broke the record for capes among the Blacks ( 149 selections). So many reasons for satisfaction which will allow the Oceanians to forget that the Azzurri saved the honor thanks to Toulouse’s Ange Capuozzo and Monty Ioane at the end of the match.
Undefeated against the Transalpines in 16 matches, the New Zealanders reminded all those who buried them that they will have to be counted on in this World Cup. With this result, the XV of France is, however, not yet qualified for the direct elimination phase. Fabien Galthié’s men will have to finish the job next Friday against the stunned Italians.