7 Nov 2021

Late surge gives scrappy All Blacks comfortable win

6:00 am on 7 November 2021

The All Blacks have wrapped up a comfortable but scrappy 47-9 win over Italy.

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles scores against Italy in Rome.

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles scores against Italy in Rome. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand easily extended their unbeaten run against the Italians to 16 matches, scoring seven tries to none in Rome on Sunday (NZ time).

They also set new world records for the most test points and tries scored in a calendar year.

Ian Foster's side have now scored 96 tries in 2021, breaking Argentina's record of 92 set in 2003, while their total points tally now stands at 675, eclipsing South Africa's 658-point haul from 2007.

However, with a number of changes made from last weekend's more convincing win over Wales, the All Blacks performance was largely disjointed and highlighted by a number of errors.

Strong Italian defence also combined to turn the match into a mostly stop-start encounter, with the visitors not pulling clear until the final quarter.

Former All Black Kieran Crowley was making his debut as Italy head coach, while his New Zealand counterpart Foster named a new line-up after last week's 54-16 win in Cardiff.

The lack of continuity showed in an error-plagued opening quarter as the All Blacks made nine handling errors and conceded six penalties in 20 minutes, but Italy could not punish them as they opted to send two kickable penalties to the corner without reward.

New Zealand broke through after 28 minutes when they dominated a five-metre Italian scrum and replacement scrumhalf Finlay Christie, on for the injured Brad Weber, stretched over the line.

Dane Coles extended their advantage three minutes later, charging over from the back of a driving line out.

The hooker repeated the trick a second time before halftime between two Garbisi penalties, with Richie Mo'unga adding the extras from the tee for a third time, as the All Blacks went in 21-6 up at the break.

Garbisi reduced the deficit to 12 points as the clock approached the hour mark, but New Zealand pulled away as their replacements provided fresh impetus.

A clever Ofa Tuungafasi offload sent Christie clear into the Italian 22, and he offloaded to Reece who sprinted over the line.

Italy's resistance crumbled when Asafo Aumua scored his first try from the back of a maul and George Bridge broke the line to set up Sotutu for a simple finish in the space of two minutes.

Aumua got his second of the day with four minutes left on the clock as the All Blacks recorded a third straight win of their autumn tour ahead of the remaining Tests against Ireland and France.

- RNZ, Reuters