A dark night indeed for Italian Rugby.
Meeting a buzzsaw All Blacks side who were hellbent on destruction, the Azzurri started relatively brightly, but unfortunately for Italian fans, it lasted all of five minutes.
Will Jordan would get the Kiwis off the mark as he continued his remarkable try-scoring run as he secured his 24th tries in 27 test matches.
Italy would strike back with what would prove to be their only points of the first half as Tommaso Allan landed a penalty from 40 meters out.
This appeared to spurn the All Blacks on as they scorched the Azzuri, crossing the line four times in ten minutes to sew up the bonus point inside twenty-two minutes.
Scrumhalf Aaron Smith and captain Ardie Savea would be the men of the hour as Smith secured a hattrick whilst Savea had a double before the half.
Showing their endeavour, New Zealand played deep into overtime to achieve Savea’s second try.
At the break, it was New Zealand 49 – Italy 3, and a record score was very much on the cards.
Starting as they had in the first half, Italy had some get-up-and-go to start the second half. Launching waves of attack only to be denied by the All Blacks defence, it appeared as though the first-half script would be repeated.
Most capped All Black of all-time 🖤 pic.twitter.com/R5Ap6Oq5ru
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 29, 2023
Persistence would prove to be the key for the Italians as their endeavour would be rewarded in the 48th minute as star winger Ange Capuozzo defied the laws of physics to dive through four All Black defenders.
Allan would land the conversion to bring the Italians to double digits.
Italian joy lasted all of two minutes as they fumbled a kick-off, resulting in an easy walk-in try for the All Blacks. Brodie Retallick would be the benefactor as he dove over the line.
With their tails back up, the All Blacks ripped into the Italians to score six more tries to bring their total up to a whopping fourteen.
Italy would have the final say as replacement Paolo Odogwu injected some energy down the right wing. Odogwu would find Monte Ioane with an offload as Italy just about avoided conceding 100 points.
In the end, the score would be a whopping 96 – 17 as the All Blacks matched the total points put up by France against Namibia.
Now firmly locked into a quarterfinal, New Zealand will shift their focus towards their potential opponents, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, in what will be a titanic battle at the Stade de France.