All Blacks respond to Ireland loss by thumping Italy 66-3
ROME (AP) — The All Blacks took out their frustration from losing to Ireland by thumping Italy 66-3 at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
New Zealand scored 10 tries against Italy for the first time, and ensured the home side never looked like scoring one of its own in a game full of pace and skills.
After New Zealand failed to record a try last weekend in Dublin, Jordie Barrett showed he could play wing by scoring four. There were three for fullback Damian McKenzie and one apiece to TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape and Beauden Barrett, who converted five. Richie Mo’unga converted the last three.
Jordie Barrett had been in the middle of a long form slump.
“A lot of it was just about me being patient and waiting for my time. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot this year,” he said. “In everyone’s career you’re kidding yourself if you just want highs all the time, so there’s been a few lows in between and hopefully it’s going to grow me as a player. I’m still only 21 and I’ve got a long way to go.”
Beside losing to Ireland, the All Blacks beat England, and coach Steve Hansen called it a great tour.
“People might think that’s a weird comment to say when we lost a game,” Hansen said. “In Ireland we had a real arm wrestle and came out the wrong side. … It’s learning about how to take the opportunities in the future. We’ll get them at some point in the World Cup if we get far enough. It’s an annoying itch that we won’t get to scratch until we get to play them.
“But that’ll make us a little hungrier. It’s always better if you go to the table hungry. You won’t win the World Cup if you’re full.”
Unbeaten in 14 previous tests against Italy, New Zealand opened the score early as Beauden Barrett offloaded for scrumhalf Perenara to slide over in the corner following some nice handling down the right.
Italy responded swiftly with a Tommaso Allan penalty, but it was to be their last score.
There was an odd moment as referee Andrew Brace injured his knee and was replaced in the 24th minute by Pascal Gauzere.
The officials, and the All Blacks, rolled on. McKenzie claimed his first and second tries, the first from lock Patrick Tuipulotu, and the second after a lovely left-foot grubber kick from Beauden Barrett.
Another sensational play down the right saw hooker Dane Coles and McKenzie feature in an 80-meter move finished by Jordie Barrett.
On the stroke of halftime, the Barrett brothers combined, as Beauden kicked out to the right for Jordie to catch and score in the corner for 31-3.
“I tapped him on the shoulder about five times this week and said, ‘Look just kick it, if it’s one on one I’ll bend myself to get up,'” Jordie said. “He put it on the button and I was lucky enough to climb high enough.”
The second half began with two quickfire converted tries from Laumape and Beauden Barrett.
McKenzie got his hat trick in the 53rd, connecting to replacement Mo’unga’s grubber kick off the left post.
In the last seven minutes, Jordie Barrett grabbed the last two tries to complete New Zealand’s biggest margin against Italy since 70-7 at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
“We had other expectations before the match,” Italy coach Conor O’Shea said. “But we also knew we were playing a very high level team. They are very hard to play against when they have the momentum and then when they got to 17-3 the pressure was off and they could really show off all their ability.
“We always want to do better in every match but we’re also very realistic. We know that the road is very, very long … I know how disappointed everyone is today. But we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for the Six Nations.”