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Kiwis wary of Italian gladiators

NEW Zealand boss Steve Hansen is expecting a gargantuan forward battle when the All Blacks take on Italy in Rome tomorrow.

The hugely physical Italians will fight for every scrap of possession and Hansen is expecting a dogfight.

"We are expecting another torrid test against the Italians in front of their passionate fans," Hansen said.

"They are renowned for their forward play so they will certainly be up for the challenge and we will have to match that physicality."

Kieran Read will lead the Kiwis out in Richie McCaw's absence.

Hansen's wholesale changes to the side include naming regular fly-half Beauden Barrett to start at full-back.

ITALY v NEW ZEALAND, TOMORROW, ROME (LIVE SETANTA IRL/ESPN, 2.0)


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