All Blacks dominated every facet of the game to overwhelm Italy 96-17 at OL Stadium on Friday evening, taking a huge step towards the quarter-finals in the process.
In a performance that will have put the rest of the tournament on notice, the All Blacks effectively ended the contest before half-time. A devastating 17-minute first-half burst saw the three-time Rugby World Cup winners score 35 unanswered points, including a hat-trick for scrum-half Aaron Smith.
Down 49-3 at the break, the Azzurri had the briefest of respites at the start of the second half, when a flying Ange Capuozzo, roared on by the crowd, touched down in the corner.
But the try served merely to reopen the floodgates, New Zealand responding with a further seven tries to give Sam Whitelock, who went past Richie McCaw as the most-capped All Black of all time, the perfect gift.
With New Zealand’s forward pack rampant and the backs at their free-flowing best, a shell-shocked Italy simply had no answer.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Jordan 2, Smith 3, Tele’a, Savea 2, Retallick, Papali’i, Coles 2, McKenzie, Brown
Cons: Mo’unga 9, McKenzie 4
Tries: Capuozzo, Ioane
Cons: Allan, Garbisi
All Blacks: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Tele’a, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Cam Roigard, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan; 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Simone Ferrari 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Toa Halafahi, 22 Martin Page-Relo, 23 Paolo Odogwu.