Jordie Barrett scored four tries as the All Blacks thrashed Italy 66-3 in Rome on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Coach Steve Hansen made a total of 11 changes to New Zealand’s starting lineup for their final Test of the year, and the experimental side stepped up to deliver a polished performance.
The big All Blacks win saw them become the first Test side to score over 500 points in three consecutive years.
Italy’s defence simply couldn’t counter the All Blacks’ pace, power and precision, and they didn’t have the quality to trouble the New Zealanders on attack.
Scrumhalf TJ Perenara scored inside the opening 10 minutes and although Italy opened their account with a penalty by Tommy Allan, those would be their only points of the afternoon.
Damian McKenzie dotted down twice before wing Jordie Barrett matched his teammate with a brace of his own. The wing’s second try came in the final play of the first half when he leapt high to pluck Beauden Barrett’s kick-pass out of the air.
The All Blacks maintained their urgency in the second half as centre Ngani Laumape and Beauden Barrett added their names to the try-scorers list soon after the restart.
Hansen then turned to his bench, with Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo’unga, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Dalton Papalii replacing Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea respectively early in the half.
The new players made an immediate impact, with McKenzie going over for his hat-trick try after running on to Mo’unga’s grubber kick.
To their credit, Italy managed to improve their possession and territory percentages, but couldn’t break down the All Blacks’ defence to get that elusive try.
Despite being forced to make more tackles than they would have anticipated, the All Blacks finished with a flourish as Jordie Barrett grabbed his third and fourth tries in the last 10 minutes to wrap up a comprehensive victory.
Italy – Penalty: Tommy Allan.
All Blacks – Tries: TJ Perenara, Damian McKenzie (3), Jordie Barrett (4), Ngani Laumape, Beauden Barrett. Conversion: Beauden Barrett (5), Richie Mo’unga (3).
Italy – 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.
Subs: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Edoardo Padovani.
All Blacks – 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 (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ofa Tuungasfasi.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Rieko Ioane.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images