All Blacks thrash Italy to boost knockout hopes

2 months ago 51
New Zealand's Aaron Smith celebrates his tryNew Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith scored his first Test hat-trick
New Zealand: (49) 96
Tries: Jordan (2), A Smith (3), Telea, Savea (2), Retallick, Papalii, Coles (2), McKenzie, Lienert-Brown Con: Mo'unga (9), McKenzie (4)
Italy: (3) 17
Tries: Capuozzo, Ioane Con: Allan, Garbisi Pens: Allan

Superb New Zealand scored an incredible 14 tries and hit 96 points against Italy in Pool A to move to the cusp of the World Cup quarter-finals.

Knowing a defeat would see them eliminated, the All Blacks raced into a pulsating 49-3 half-time lead.

They ultimately ran out 96-17 victors with scrum-half Aaron Smith scoring a hat-trick after just 33 minutes.

The All Blacks will guarantee a spot in the knockouts with a win over Uruguay in their final pool match on Thursday.

Italy must beat hosts France in their next match to reach a first World Cup quarter-final.

The All Blacks' win sees them jump up to second in Pool A, level on points with Italy who they now have a superior head-to-head record over.

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