Can Italy put a dent in New Zealand’s World Cup hopes on Friday at 20:00 (UK time) at OL Stadium in Lyon?
Italy have never beaten New Zealand at Rugby Union, indeed, their four biggest defeats in the World Cup have all come at the hands of the All Blacks. However, this isn’t a vintage All Black side, and Italy look to be in decent shape.
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New Zealand vs Italy preview
New Zealand have always been, and probably will always be, a leader in the world of Rugby Union. It is their national game and one in which they have excelled for so long. However, this current crop of All Blacks don’t appear to be of the same vintage of many that have come before them.
They are ranked 4th in the world at the moment, and feel quite a bit behind France, Ireland, and South Africa, all countries that have beaten them in the last twelve months.
Italy lost all of their Six Nations matches again in 2023, but scored double figure points in all six and were very competitive in most of them. It has already been mentioned that France and Ireland are in particularly good shape right now, Scotland and England are also ranked in the top six in the world, so the Six Nations is particularly tough right now.
Post Six Nations, Italy have now won four in a row. They were convincing against Namibia and showed great resilience and mentality against Uruguay to put 24 points on Los Ticos without reply when they were under severe pressure.
New Zealand have beaten Italy by at least 30 points every single time they have met in the past. Though the gap may be closer on this occasion, the All Blacks will surely win to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
New Zealand XV: Beauden Barrett; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea; Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Ofa Tuungafasi, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizell, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea
Replacements: Dane Coles, Tamaiti Williams, Tyrel Lomax, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Cam Roigard, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown
Italy XV: Tommaso Allan; Ange Capuozzo, Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Danilo Fischetti, Giacomo Nicotera, Marco Riccioni, Dino Lamb, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro, Lorenzo Cannone
Replacements: Hame Faiva, Ivan Nemer, Simone Ferrari, Niccolo Cannone, Manuel Zuliani, Toa Halafihi, Martin Page-Relo, Paolo Odogwu
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