Italy have shown a bright cutting edge at this Rugby World Cup, running in 12 tries and 90 points in two matches, but they face a big step up against the All Blacks in Lyon on Friday night.

This is make-or-break time for the Azzurri if they want to break the constant cycle of third-place pool finishes at the World Cup, but to do that they will need to spring an upset against New Zealand or France.

And they will face a huge task claiming a historic first win against the All Blacks, who have named a strong side and cannot afford to let their focus wander after defeat to France in the tournament opener.

Italy have lost all of their 15 matches against the Kiwis, most recently going down 47-9 in Rome in November 2021, and 12 of those defeats, including the last four, have been by more than 30 points.

New Zealand vs Italy Prediction

  • New Zealand – 28 @ 5/6
  • Rieko Ioane anytime tryscorer @ 10/11

Team news

After an easy 71-3 win over Namibia last time out New Zealand have reverted to the bulk of the starting 15 who took on France in their opener.

In all, 11 of the line-up who lost to Les Bleus are in action again, while skipper Sam Cane is fit enough to make the bench.

Italy also rang the changes for their second pool match, but starting half-backs Stephen Varney and Paolo Garbisi return while Tommaso Allan moves back to full-back with Monty Ioane and Ange Capuozzo on the wings.

New Zealand – 28 @ 5/6

Italy have stepped it up in attack since the last World Cup but they still face a momentous task getting enough points on the board to stay in touch with a fearsome All Blacks unit.

New Zealand are famed for their tryscoring flair but the defensive foundations have to be there and the statistics highlight just how tough they are to break down.

The All Blacks were beaten 27-13 in their opening match but the last time they had shipped more than 20 points in a World Cup pool match was against Wales in 2003 and over the last four tournaments they have shipped an average of less than 10 points per game.

Italy, meanwhile, have scored more than ten points in only one of their last ten meetings with New Zealand and haven’t scored a try in the last two. At the last three World Cups they have faced five matches against tier-one nations and put up totals of 10, nine, six (twice) and three points.

And if the Azzurri again can’t get points on the board they look set to struggle to hold down a devastating All Black attack. Winger Mark Telea scored two tries in that opening match while on the other wing Will Jordan has bagged 23 tries in 26 matches.

Rieko Ioane anytime tryscorer @ 10/11

Telea and Jordan are clearly the star names in the All Blacks attack, but Rieko Ioane has also made his mark and looks to be relishing the opportunity after being largely overlooked at the 2019 World Cup.

Ioane scored off the bench against Namibia last time out and the experienced centre now has 65 caps and 36 tries to his name.

The All Black wingers, both long odds-on to get on the scoresheet, will be marked men but space may open up around them as a result.

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