New Zealand overcame a slow start and a series of early errors to beat Italy 42-10 in Rome yesterday.
Aaron Cruden kicked 17 points, Julian Savea scored two late tries and Kieran Read, Ma’a Nonu and Cory Jane also had scores for the World No.1 All Blacks, who led 13-7 at half-time.
Alberto Sgarbi scored a first-half try for the Azzurri, and Luciano Orquera added one conversion and one drop kick in front of an enthusiastic sold-out crowd of more than 70,000 at the Stadio Olimpico.
But New Zealand extended their overall unbeaten streak to 19 matches and recorded a 13th successive win against Italy, despite leaving star stand-off Dan Carter on the bench.
“They put a lot of heat on us early on. We expected that. It shows how far along they’ve come in the last few years,” said Kieran Read, in his first match as All Blacks captain.
Craig Gilroy starred for eight-try Ireland as they destroyed Fiji at Thomond Park.
The Irish select XV scored four tries in each half to snap an international losing streak of five matches. Fergus McFadden chipped in with two tries and there were strong performances from Sean Cronin, Iain Henderson and Luke Marshall. Gilroy was the man of the match, however, and he capped an excellent outing with an 80-metre breakaway, hat-trick try.
Scotland’s final Autumn Test opponents, Tonga, overcame having two men yellow-carded in the second half to record a 22-13 win over the USA Eagles in an international in Colwyn Bay, Wales. Viliami Helu and Joseph Tuineau scored their tries.