Error-strewn All Blacks eventually pull away from Italy

New Zealand were made to work hard for their 47-9 victory over a spirited Italy in their Autumn Nations Series fixture, with errors hampering the visitors’ game.

Despite the eventual scoreline seeing them rack up seven tries at the Stadio Olimpico, the All Blacks were out of sorts and need to improve for future matches.

Finlay Christie, Dane Coles (2), Sevu Reece, Asafo Aumua (2) and Hoskins Sotutu got over the whitewash, with Richie Mo’unga converting six of those crossings.

Italy’s only points came via the boot of fly-half Paolo Garbisi but the hosts can be pleased with how they frustrated New Zealand for large parts on Saturday.

It was an error-strewn opening half from the All Blacks as they coughed up possession on several occasions, which meant they were held scoreless for 28 minutes.

Handling mistakes from Braydon Ennor would have frustrated the All Blacks outside centre but perhaps more upsetting for the Azzurri was that they were denied a try on 12 minutes when referee Karl Dickson blew for New Zealand obstruction, one second before Monty Ioane was on his way over the whitewash for a certain score.

More errors hurt New Zealand’s game thereafter but eventually an opportunistic score from replacement scrum-half Christie came, which relieved lots of pressure.

Coles would be next to cross three minutes later via a driving maul and despite two Garbisi penalties arriving before the turnaround, Coles’ second made it 21-6.

Much like the first period, the opening to the second was similarly fractious from the All Blacks and it was in fact Garbisi who struck first with a penalty goal.

But then on the hour mark New Zealand found some form with Reece being put in by Christie to make it 28-9 before Aumua raced over off the back of a lineout.

New Zealand weren’t done and a lovely score involving Mo’unga and George Bridge then sent Sotutu over for 42-9 before the final try from Aumua added the gloss.