All Blacks bounce back with Italian demolition job
New Zealand responded to their shock defeat against Ireland last weekend by cruising to a routine 68-10 victory over Italy in Rome.
The All Blacks were beaten 40-29 by Joe Schmidt's men in Chicago, ending a world record run of 18 consecutive victories by a tier-one nation.
But Steve Hansen's side showed no hangover from that setback as they ran in five tries in each half in a real mismatch of a Test on Saturday.
An All Blacks XV sporting 12 changes to the side beaten by Ireland made a strong start - Malakai Fekitoa's fourth-minute try a first stitch in the Chicago wounds.
Carlo Canna got Italy on the board with a kicked penalty, before Charlie Faumuina powered over the line and Aaron Cruden doubled his tally from tee to make it 14-3.
Patrick Tuipulotu dived through Italian legs after a driving maul drew the All Blacks within inches of the line, and Israel Dagg exploited a gap in the defence to score New Zealand's fourth try with just 26 minutes on the clock.
The 12-minute wait for another try felt like an age following the All Blacks' flying start, but Wyatt Crockett went over under the posts to help the visitors to a 35-3 half-time lead.
And it was more of the same after the interval.
Codie Taylor popped the ball inside to flanker Elliot Dixon, who showed the pace of a winger to race down the right flank before offloading to Steven Luatua to touch down.
It was all too simple for the All Blacks as Fekitoa crossed for his second score of the match, and Dixon followed up his earlier try-making run by going over himself after 62 minutes.
Italy did eventually get their try - Tommaso Boni ran from inside his own half following an interception to pull the scoreline back to 54-10 with the help of Tommaso Allan's conversion.
That joy was short-lived, however, as Rieko Ioane soon restored order, with Waisake Naholo rounding off the scoring three minutes from time.
The All Blacks head to Dublin for a second clash with Ireland next weekend.