New Zealand 76 - Italy 14
The best news for All Black fans was that after a patchy Tri Nations - they seem to have hit the form we have all been waiting for. Admittedly - this match was against Italy who aren't exactly in the league of the Wallabies or South Africa. But keeping in mind that Italy did beat both Wales and Scotland in the Six Nations, on paper before the match, this could have been a much closer contest.
It wasn't to be. The Italians snubbing of the haka seemed to fire the All Blacks. The first twenty minutes looked like a game of touch between the All Blacks with six clean tries (the first two to McCaw) leaving Italy completely bewildered in their wake. The Italians had a strong scrum to match the New Zealanders and a couple of lucky tries to give them some consolation but this was really about an All Black team champing to get out of the blocks.
Wayne Smith acknowledged Carter's superb place kicking to create several tries for the ABs. Although you would have thought the NZ flyhalf was a complete dud if you read Paul Doyle's article in the Guardian. Interesting to note that Mr Doyle thinks Carter's kicking is shaky and presents a bad omen for the ABs. I see this as yet another British journalist clutching at straws but it still quite an interesting read. A more worrying omen for me is the fact that Carl Hayman was sinbinned once again. He needs to look at that.