All Blacks v Italy: sublime and ridiculous

Ireland are hogging the rugby headlines after beating the All Blacks in Chicago, but there is another test to deal with before the re-match in Dublin. The All Blacks will try to get their mojo back in Rome on Sunday - here's a potted history of matches between New Zealand and Italy.

Smallest margin
1991: New Zealand 31, Italy 21. Leicester

The first rugby test at Welford Rd in 68 years, and what was a strong All Black side by reputation had a bit of a shocker in this final World Cup pool game. Names like Kirwan, Tuigamala, Fox, Whetton, Jones and Fitzpatrick pop out from the team sheet. The All Blacks had led 31 - 12, but their performance was a far cry from the brilliant opening against the same team in the inaugural World Cup game at Eden Park four years earlier.

Biggest win
1999: New Zealand 101, Italy 3. Huddersfield

An All Black team with only a few first stringers, including Jeff Wilson who got a hat trick of tries, went on a rampage against an Italian team which had been smashed by England in an earlier pool game.

As a curio, Jonah Lomu - a schoolboy forward - finished the game playing at No.8. A huge win, but an infamous quarter-final against France was just a couple of weeks away.

Last meeting
2012: New Zealand 42, Italy 10. Rome

Kieran Read led the All Blacks for the first time becoming the 66th captain in front of a 75,000 crowd at the Stadio Olimpico. Italy trailed by just 7 - 13 at halftime, with their outstanding No. 8 and captain Sergio Parisse - who leads the side this Sunday - turning down penalty shots in favour of try attempts. It turned into a good All Blacks win, in the stadium where the great Kiwi runners Peter Snell and Murray Halberg achieved glory at the 1960 Olympics.

- NZ Herald

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