Still too much distance between Italy and the masters of rugby. The Italian national team, although never tame and generous, lost with a resounding 96-17 against New Zealand at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon on the fourth day of Pool A of the World Cup.
The victories against Namibia and Uruguay had given the Italian fans hope, perhaps deluded, in view of the match against the New Zealanders. Against the All Blacks it’s a harsh return to reality. The 42-0 run in the first half best represents the total supremacy of the opponents who did not forgive the Italians’ too many errors. For New Zealand it is also a redemption, sought with determination, after less than exciting performances which culminated in the crushing defeat against France.
At the start of the match the Azzurri, embracing each other and with their eyes fixed on their opponents, faced the Maori haka without any awe. But the match immediately started badly with Italy locked in their own 22 metres. A few minutes and Jordan scores on the right. Mounga converts from a very tight position. The Azzurri react: penalty for the All Black with Allan who shortens between the posts from a central position.
But the blue push doesn’t last long. Smith smashes in the try and Mounga converts for 3-14. The psychological repercussion is heavy and among the blue ranks there are a few too many errors: blue tackle wrong in defense and Telea flies to score New Zealand’s third try. Mounga converts this too. Then Savea scores the fourth try with the usual Mounga converting between the posts. The risk of collapse is evident: Smith scores two more tries and Malunga converts his sixth kick. Savea scores the seventh try and Malunga kicks for 3-49 which closes the first half.
In the second half comes the proud reaction of the Azzurri. So much push that in the end it was rewarded by a splendid try from Ange Capuozzo on the right and a kick from Allan which brought the result to 10-49. But New Zealand are not intimidated and start pushing again: Retallick breaks through in the center and the usual Malunga doesn’t make a mistake. The All Blacks are unstoppable: Papali scores the ninth try for the New Zealanders. Then it’s Coles’ turn, and Malunga’s first and only football error arrives at 68-10. The All Blacks make a series of changes but the music is always the same: tries for McKenzie, Jordan, Coles and Lienert-Brown for 96-10. In the final flash of pride for Italy. With time up, after an insistent action, Ioane’s goal arrives on the right. Garbisi goes for the posts and closes the distance.
It ends with a 17-96 which downsizes Italy and worries in view of the next match with the fearsome France