Friday 19 January 2018

Hansen demanding response in Dublin as All Blacks destroy Italy

Anton Lienert-Brown of the New Zealand All Blacks in action. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images
Anton Lienert-Brown of the New Zealand All Blacks in action. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images Sportsdesk

New Zealand put Conor O'Shea's Italy to the sword as they ran in 10 tries on Saturday and Steven Hansen wants his side to carry that momentum into this weekend's mouth-watering rematch against Ireland.

Italy 10 New Zealand 68

Malakai Fekitoa (two), Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Israel Dagg, Wyatt Crockett, Steven Luatua, Elliot Dixon, Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo scored for the All Blacks, with out-half Aaron Cruden kicking seven conversions and Lima Sopoaga two.

Like Joe Schmidt did for the rout over Canada, Hansen rang the changes in Rome, but his big guns are set to return as the All Blacks seek revenge for the defeat in Chicago.

New Zealand scored five tries in the first-half, with Fekitoa touching down in the fourth minute and Cruden converting, only for Carlo Canna to cut the deficit shortly after with a penalty to make it 7-3.

Faumuina extended the lead in the 15th minute and Tuipulotu crossed five minutes later, with Dagg and Crockett touching down before the break and Cruden converting.

Luatua continued the scoring four minutes into the second-half before Fekitoa claimed his second and Dixon got his first Test try. Ioane and Naholo also crossed and Sopoaga took over kicking duties from Cruden with two successful conversions. Tommaso Boni's superb interception and 50-metre run to touch down raised a brief cheer for the hosts.

Hansen has refused to panic since Ireland claimed a historic first win as he pointed to the amount of young players currently in his squad.

Anton Lienert-Brown and Fekitoa are a hugely exciting centre partnership and they clicked well against Italy, leaving Hansen with a big decision for Saturday's game. Rieko Ioane is a special talent and at 19 has a huge future ahead of him.

"We have got 18 new players from last year's World Cup squad and obviously that is a lot," said Hansen.

"The group is just starting out and they are playing very well. But they tasted defeat in our last game prior to this one so it will be interesting to see how they grow from that.

"But the expectation within the All Blacks is that the next generation is always better than the one before."


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