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End Of The Year Tours: Italy v New Zealand Preview
The All Blacks will be looking to bounce back from last week’s shock defeat to the Irish when they take on Italy this Saturday.
An inexperienced Italian side are next up to face the world’s number one ranked team. For the hosts, this game is more about keeping the losing margin down rather than actually winning the game. The visitors, on the other hand, will be looking to put a massive score over the Italians after last week’s disappointment in Chicago.
Italy v New Zealand | Saturday 12 November | Stadio Olimpico | 16:00
To Win (80 Mins)
Italy 16/1 | Draw 33/1 | New Zealand 1/100
Italy (+41.5) 9/10 | New Zealand (-41.5) 9/10
A new era in Italian rugby will get underway this Saturday with former Irish international Conor O’Shea overseeing his first game as Azzurri coach. The Irishman’s fledgling tenure has already seen a substantial amount of change, particularly playing personal.
While O’Shea has included a few Italian stalwarts in his starting XV – both Sergio Parrise and Leonardo Ghiliraldhini have been named in the run-on side – the majority of his team is made up of players who only have a handful of caps to their names.
This is most evident in the back three where Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni and Angelo Esposito will feature. Combined, the trio have less than 15 caps which is a rather frightening prospect when you consider how deadly the All Blacks are on the counter.
Much like his opposite number, Steve Hansen will field a rather inexperienced side this Saturday. Unlike his opposite number though, Hansen’s inexperienced players already have a season or two of Super Rugby under their belts - which is about as good as having 20 Italian caps to your name.
The All Blacks will have two debutants take to the Stadio Olimpico this Saturday in the form of Liam Coltman and Rieko Ioane. Coltman is the understudy hooker while Auckland Blues man Ioane, who enjoyed a breakthrough season for the Blues and was emmaculate during Auckland’s Mitre 10 Cup campaign, will get a run out in the second half either in the centres or on the wing.
Further changes of interest see the mercurial Damian McKenzie get a run at fifteen, Sam Cane fill the captaincy role and Waisake Naholo return on the wing.
Verdict: New Zealand (41.5) 9/10
It’s a massive handicap and I really wouldn’t advise wagering the rent on it but a R50 stake may reap a decent return.