LYON, France : Three-time champions New Zealand ran in 14 tries to destroy Italy 96-17 for a bonus-point victory in Pool A and take a decisive step towards the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup on Friday.
The All Blacks, with lock Sam Whitelock celebrating a record 149th cap, showed no mercy at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium as Will Jordan (2), Aaron Smith (3), Mark Telea, Ardie Savea (2), Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Dane Coles (2), Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown scored tries – all but one converted by Richie Mo’unga (9) or McKenzie (4).
Italy’s hopes of an upset quickly went up in smoke and they only got on the scoreboard thanks to second-half tries by Ange Capuozzo and Montanna Ioane as well as points from the tee by Tommaso Allan and Paolo Garbisi.
The result put New Zealand in second place with 10 points, ahead of the Azzurri on points difference and three points behind group leaders France, who will take on Italy next Friday, one day after the All Blacks face Uruguay.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)