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New Zealand hold onto Bledisloe Cup

George Gregan's halfback Masterclass

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The All Blacks too strong for impressive Italy in Milan

The All Blacks too strong for impressive Italy in Milan

There was an amazing atmosphere at the San Siro in Milan on Saturday as Italy fought hard against the All Blacks in front of an incredible 80 000 rugby fans, but went down 20-6 in the end.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry fielded a largely second string side, with Ben Smith, Mike Delany and Tamati Ellison all making their test debuts. In the past a second string side would still manage 50 against the Italians though, who normally struggle with depth.

The lack of cohesion within the All Blacks side showed, as they lacked fluency on attack and made a number of mistakes.

"It is just a pity that the game didn't live up to its billing," Henry said. "There was a lot of errors on both sides, but it was a very good experience for our young players. There were three making their debuts and others who hadn't played a lot of test rugby, so it was a good experience for them."

The home side led briefly though as flyhalf Craig Gower kicked a penalty before the All Blacks shot ahead with two Luke McAlister penalties and a Corey Flynn try after 25 minutes.

McAlister landed another kick, and it was 14-3 to the visitors at the halftime break.

He slotted another kick early in the second half, while Italian centre Gonzalo Garcia was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle in midfield.

Italys forwards put huge amounts of pressure on the All Blacks in the scrum, and won a penalty for their efforts in the 57th minute, which Gower duly slotted. McAlister got another penalty with just over 10 minutes left, but it was Italy who looked most likely to score.

The pressure at the scrum told as Neemia Tialata was eventually yellow carded following numerous collapsed scrums.

"There was one area of the game in which we were better and that was the scrum," Italy coach Nick Mallett said.

"You try to use your strengths to try and score, so you become very disappointed when after seven minutes and five scrums you aren't allowed to score a try.

"As far as I'm concerned if a referee has seen four penalties and he has shown a prop a yellow card, I think we should have had a penalty try."

Time: 01:28
Note: Better quality highlights will be up when possible.

Posted by Rugbydump at 3:42 pm | View Comments (47)

Viewing 47 comments

Remy November 15, 2009 3:36 pm

italy is getting better and better!!! i like this

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 3:43 pm

Italian scrum pack was huge...respect to the "azzurri".

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 3:59 pm

Boring game, felt sorry for Italy, ref was clearly on the All Blacks side. Trying to protect their reputation I guess.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 4:04 pm

All Blacks too strong ???? I watched a different game then. The Italians could have won this...but the referee...

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Gianluca November 15, 2009 4:06 pm

There was a clear penalty try for Italy...Nz scrum collapsed at least 7 times at 5 meters and resulted only in a yellow card...
By the way, Italy is getting stronger!!
Forza Azzurriiii!!
Ps: I was in Milan yesterday!! it was amazing!

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 4:10 pm

Latest news: Castrogiovanni 2 South Emisphere 0

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 4:19 pm

Poor Italy, not only underdogs but having to face a southern hemi team and a southern hem ref.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 4:54 pm

The Italian scrum has been quite perfect yesterday, good match but i'm looking for SA next saturday and Samoa the following. It's a good month for rugby in Italy!

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No.7 November 15, 2009 4:55 pm

the first comment beat me.....i as gonna say thesame thing!

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Mikey Mike November 15, 2009 5:09 pm

What an atrocious game to watch, rugby has been such a bad spectacle this year.

Italy did well in slowing the game down, I wouldnt say the ref was biased, just annoying, Dickinson has always been a tool.

I can't wait for Delany and Donald to make way for Cruden.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 5:18 pm

too right Remy!

might be wishful thinking, but i reckon when the next generation of italian players come through, they will be a force to be reckoned with?

Yay or nay?

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 6:08 pm

ok,it was not a game for league fans,but it was a huge game in scrums and defence!

our scrum was better and let us so proud of it.

i'm not so optimistic for the next match against SA but we are definetly growing!

if we can compete in the celtic league we will make the final step forward!

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No.7 November 15, 2009 6:12 pm

To the above.

Im not so sure about how big a force but i think they will cause upsets!

I think the problem in the NH is football....too much money, too much praise, and too many MOTHERF*CKING PRICKS WANTING TO BE THE NEXT HOMO ROONEY! (in england)

So i think italy needs to promote rugby more!

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No.7 November 15, 2009 6:22 pm

one above the one above me _

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Anarchangel November 15, 2009 7:05 pm

The problem isn't that refs are biased, it's that they don't ref the game the same way. In the SH, we dread playing under NH refs because it turns into a tedious parade of dubious penalty calls. I'm sure NH fans are equally bemused by SH refs (FWIW, everyone is bemused by Dickinson, as the news coverage of this match shows). If it wouldn't be prohibitively expensive and disruptive to the lives of the refs, they could try some sort of exchange system where NH and SH refs ref games in the top club leagues so that players and refs get used to the way rugby is played and reffed in the respective hemispheres.

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Huh!! the 3rd November 15, 2009 7:15 pm

It has to be acknowledged, who ever thought a rugby game would sell out the biggest stadium in Italy? Fantastic, then they had to watch the game and remembered they are a soccer country. I suppose no other touring side attracts that much attention.

Didn't see the game, but NZ are losing strenght in depth. Can't solely blame lure of the big bucks up here, but wow. Henry should do whatever he can to get Haymans back, and possibly Nick Evans.

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No.7 November 15, 2009 7:26 pm


In one way i agree....in another i disagree....

I think really it would be nice if there was more consistency...but the fact is us NH players are used to one type of reffing, and you SH players are used to yours....so all in all its kinda equal because when SH players come north they get our refs, so perhaps we have the upper hand, but then it happens vice versa....

kinda like in the NH players sometimes complain about italy and the mitre ball in 6N, because they arent used to it....(bounces different etc) but then italy are have to play with the ol' gilbert when they come over...so sorta balances... :-/

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Kearney for tests November 15, 2009 7:45 pm

Stuart Dickinson, he's actually a disgrace. There were about seven minutes at the end, of scrums collapsing, and then penalties for scrums collapsing, then he eventually yellow cards the guy, but no penalty try. What the hell is his problem? If I was Parisse there at the end I would have punched him in the face.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 7:49 pm

All Blacks were BUGGERED in the scrum. If the ref wasn't so incompetent and the Italians had a backline, they would have won. The 140kg hippo getting yellow carded was the highlight of the game.

By the way, the Italians need to get rid of the ex-league player. His decision making, as you'd expect, is incredibly poor.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 7:51 pm

Loved those scrums! Ignorant Australian fans should be forced to watch the last 10 minutes.

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boomshanka November 15, 2009 8:04 pm

Italian forwards impressed ... backline decision making not so flash?

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 8:16 pm

To Anarchangel...
Your argument is fallacious....As a matter of fact, IRB rules on scrumming are the same both in the NH and SH. If the ref had applied them correctly...the Italians should have gotten a penalty try (period).

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 8:25 pm

I enjoyed the match and the scrumming. This is rugby 15.....it is neither rugby 7 nor fussy rugby league (just for the "total running" rugby lovers)
Personally, I would not pay for a rugby 15 game with few scrums...but I live in NH...that's maybe why?!?

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 8:36 pm

Stu Dickinson is a cheating convict.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 8:37 pm

Stu DICKinson.

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Anonymous November 15, 2009 8:46 pm

Should have been a penalty try at the end. Thanks to "Dick", the ANZAC spirit lives on.

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WH November 16, 2009 12:30 am

italy were camped at 5m line for ages with endless penalties commited by the ABs. should have been a penalty try and possibly multiple players sent to the bin

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Juan November 16, 2009 3:05 am

Italy didnt look like scoring apart from the end, the all blacks were never in danger of losing.

Great defence by Italy though to only let in one try, they seem to be getting better which is good for rugby in Italy. Awesome stadium and camera views.

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Anonymous November 16, 2009 3:07 am


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Anonymous November 16, 2009 12:00 pm

Italians will beat Wallabies come 2011 pool stages.

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cheyanqui November 16, 2009 3:08 pm

That official shouldn't even referee a lover's tiff after that performance on the NZL 5m line.

Imagine how quickly the penalty try whistle would have come if it was a Pacific island nation (SAM, TON, FIJ) generating those infractions on their own 5m against, say a NZL or WAL? They would have gotten one warning and the second would have been a Penalty try.

Word has it that next week Nick Mallett will have his team wear armbands reading "Justice 4 Castro"

Forza Italia!

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cheyanqui November 16, 2009 3:10 pm

RD -- can you get some of the game up from the Italian feed?

Watched the end of this game on an Italian feed via a peer-to-peer website.

I couldn't understand a word he said (io no parlo), but the color commentator was screaming "bene" "buono" all over the place.

it was almost like his hands were coming out of the computer speakers.

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matteo November 16, 2009 5:51 pm

all blacks too faulty, not too strong.... and a incapable referee has made a present of New Zealand... INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!

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andy says November 16, 2009 9:53 pm

The Italians should join the celtic league and argentina the 6 nations ... the sport needs to be promoted and the south has to stop being so full of themselves , rugby is a great game and the more people watching and playing the better the sport will become , well done Italy well see you in the 6 nations

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popeye November 16, 2009 10:56 pm

I'm not so sure the ref was totally on the AB's side - that last series of scrums for the Italians resulting in a yellow for NZ and dozen resets, a few of those times, the ref could have pinged Italy for not going in straight. Now, I say that knowing that maybe NZ didn't go in straight and that caused Italy to not go straight...I dunno, but a couple of times, Italy could've just as easily given away the penalty. That said, Italy made absolute mincemeat of the All Black set piece, and it was beautiful to watch. Also, for the first 15 minutes of the game, Italy looked promising as well; for a second, I thought they were ready to stick it to NZ. After that, the match sort of degenerated and only the last 10 or so were entertaining...

And did someone up there mention "fellatio"...oh, no? Fallacious? Oh...I don't think Anarchangel's comment was that out of line. The fact stands that even the IRB must've recognized a difference in NH and SH reffing concerns - they went ahead and stuck ol' Wayne Barnes in to officiate an ANZC match and as touch-judge for a couple 3N games for the sole purpose of getting some NH refs some exposure to SH playing style. I'm not sure if they plan to keep that pattern up, but it could be nice (a bit expensive, yeah...).

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Anonymous November 16, 2009 11:21 pm

Great to see Italy pack out 80000 seats and take the game to the ABs. albeit not a full strength ABs team and some questionable ref decisions it was encouraging for the Azurri! keep it up!

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Anonymous November 17, 2009 1:17 am

For the SH gentlement two comments above...
Fallacious = containing a fallacy; logically unsound;

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Anonymous November 17, 2009 2:57 am

^Clearly, mate, it was a joke. A bit of a Rickyism, if you will.

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UK Andy November 17, 2009 3:28 pm

"Great to see Italy pack out 80000 seats and take the game to the ABs. albeit not a full strength ABs team and some questionable ref decisions it was encouraging for the Azurri! keep it up!"

Oh, wow, how condescending. Carter and McCaw are the A team players everyone else comes and goes. This team wasn't much weaker than the trinations team. They were humiliated in the scrum, their forwards were outclassed and if the Italians had decent backs, they would have won.

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MikeyMIke November 17, 2009 10:21 pm

Italy were cheating in the scrums, Dickinsons a dick

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MikeyMike November 17, 2009 10:34 pm

The team was way different UKAndy. I don't know about you but I havent seen much of Ben Smith, Delany, Tamati Williams, Crockett, Corey Flynn, Boric, Donnely, Ellis, Latimer, Messam this year. Your fact checking could have you working for a trashy tabloid newspaper if your looking for a new vocation.

Just wait to see the team that smashes England this weekend and remember that A players like Mealamu, ALi Williams, Kahui, Toeava, Weepu, Hayman will be around next year.

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Jonboy November 18, 2009 1:13 pm

Link to an article in the guardian. Couple of quotes highlighted below:

"IRB apologises to New Zealand for errors made by Australian referee"

"The best example I can use is in the last 10 minutes there were eight scrums, of which seven the tighthead for Italy is purely illegal," [Paddy] O'Brien said. "Up here they're crying that it should have been a penalty try. It should have been a penalty first scrum to the All Blacks."

Can't ever remember a ref getting such a pasting from the governing board. Posters here: still think it should've been a penalty try?

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Anonymous November 18, 2009 1:39 pm

Paddy O Brien is a kiwi, im sorry but i didnt hear any other refs giving out about the "cheating" of the italians.

What pains me is that the italians scrum which i thought was huge and very good will be pinged all of the game against SA. Just you wait and see.

And all because Wyatt Crockett kept saying it all through the game that his opposite side wasnt binding straight.

Wow i thought thats what all props say when they get pinged at scrum time!!!!

Pathetic by Dickinson for not giving the peno try and pathetic by O' Brien for sticking up for a pathetic scrum.

NZ need Hayam back big time.

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Anonymous November 18, 2009 6:19 pm

What O'Brien said and how he said is very disturbing and embarrasing for all of us that love rugby.

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MikeyMike November 18, 2009 8:45 pm

Paddy OBrien is the Boss of the refs, thats why it is only him saying it, thats his job. Yes he is a New Zealander but he is a professional, did you guys miss all the stuff about him after the World Cup?

People wanted bad refs to be held accountable, this is what has happened, Dickinson has been shite for a long time (just ask the Super 14 nations). It definitely is different for it to be so public but Dickinson has been a serial offender.

Seriously, why be such haters?

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Anonymous November 18, 2009 10:19 pm

I guess the point is the ref is two feet from the action, and this is a very favorable observation point (front/3D- scrum-height). Much better than the camera cone vision (Flat/top-down) Said that, he can still make two types of errors:
Type I Error: there was a scrum fault and he did not punish it;

Type II Error: there were no faults, and he indeed saw one and punished it.

My understanding of the O'Brien's reprimend at Dickinson is that "Dick" made, at the same time, several Type I errors (namely, the Italian scrum was at fault and he punished AB) and Type II errors ( AB scrum was not at fault and he punished AB).

The logical inference of O'Brien's thougths is then:
The Ab were punished though, the Italian scrum was at fault and the AB scrum was not at fault".

Well, if I proved that the AB scrum was at fault, the O'Brien's reasoning is fallaciuos and must be rejected.
Now, here it is the proof:...

In Critical decision analysis the O'Brien's bias is named "Confirmation bias", that occurs when an individual is looking only for pieces of evidences that support his pre-determined judgment.

The last thing this sport needs is a biased-kiwi-ref-chief...

I like AB...but rugby is bigger than them...keep it clean!

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