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Italians boat raced by All Blacks in first half blitz

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Friday Sep 29, 2023

A wounded All Black is a dangerous All Black, as the old adage goes. This is certainly the case this evening in Lyon as the All Blacks secured a four-try bonus point within twenty-two minutes.

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Now leading 49 – 3 at half time, the All Blacks got on the board early as they stretched the Italians from touchline to touchline.

Try-scoring ace Will Jordan would once again be the benefactor as he leapt over the Italian cover defence to touch down in the 6th minute.

Italy would respond with a well-taken penalty by fullback Tommaso Allan, who cooly slotted a 40-meter penalty.

Italian joy would be short-lived, however, as the All Blacks hit the jets to score four tries in ten minutes.

Setting a powerful maul five meters out from the Italian line, the All Blacks pack got rumbling and were joined by several backs. One moving, the Italians simply couldn’t put a dent in the maul as scrumhalf Aaron Smith crossed the line for the first of his three tries.

Perhaps the pick of the All Blacks try was started by captain Ardie Savea, who ran straight through the Italian defence from the kick-off. Finally dragged down just outside the Italian 22m line, Savea offloaded to Beauden Barrett, who flung a 15m pass which Mark Telea gratefully received.

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Having started Italian’s previous score, Savea got a try of his own from yet another All Black line-out. Going over relatively unchallenged, the number eight was ecstatic in his celebration.

Securing the bonus point, Smith got his second in the 28th minute, which was followed by his hattrick score four minutes later.

Things would quiet down somewhat for the next ten minutes, yet there remained an air of inevitability that the Kiwis weren’t finished.

So it would prove in the 44th minute as the All Blacks finally crossed following several goal-line attacks. Once again, it would be the captain as Savea broke from a maul to secure a relatively easy try.

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Leading 49 – 3 at the break, New Zealand are in one of those moods as they are sending a warning shot to anyone who has forgotten they are bonafide title contenders despite their recent struggles.

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