Update: match cancelled and a 0-0 draw has been awarded. The first of Saturday's Rugby World Cup matches comes from Pool B where New Zealand are huge favourites to extend their 100% record when they clash with Italy at the City of Toyota Stadium.
New Zealand v Italy, Saturday 12th October, Toyota City, KO 06:45 (South African time)
Weather Forecast – City of Toyota Stadium (note, this stadium also has a retractable roof)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes, Alexandre Ruiz
TMO: Graham Hughes
The All Blacks have never lost a pool stage match in RWC finals and after they started this campaign with a 23-13 win over the Springboks, that record was never going to troubled by the likes of Canada and Namibia. They still need a couple of log points from this match to secure top spot in the pool and then focus will switch to the remaining Pool A matches to see whether Japan, Ireland or Scotland will provide the opposition in the quarter finals. In the outright betting the All Blacks are generally 11/10 favourites to win the tournament.
Following the win over the Boks New Zealand went on to complete a 63-0 (28-0 half time) hammering of Canada, a victory margin that came up just short of where the pre-match handicap had been set.
Last time out the All Blacks were quoted as 70 point favourites against Namibia and they won the match 71-9. After half an hour they were just 10-9 in front, it was 17-9 at half time and the second half was one way traffic.
Whatever the result here Italy will finish third in the pool and then head home. In order to stay in contention for a quarter final place they needed to upset the Springboks in what was their third outing but they crashed to a 49-3 defeat (half time 17-3). Italy were given almost 30 points start by the bookmakers for that match but the Boks seemingly had their number before they were reduced to 14 men early in the second half. Any questionable tactics Italy may have deployed to force uncontested scrums throughout the game were of no consequence.
Italy's 2 bonus point wins came against the minnows of Namibia (47-22) and Canada (48-7). Italy were 30 point favourites to beat Namibia and 20 point favourites for the clash with Canada.
Italy have lost all 14 previous meetings with the All Blacks and the average margin of defeat is 50 points (59-9).
New Zealand: tbc
Head to Head
The All Blacks have won all 14 of the previous head to heads including 5 pool matches in RWC finals.
2018 INT Rome Italy 3–66 New Zealand (Tries 0-10 )
2016 INT Rome Italy 12–68 New Zealand (Tries 1-10 )
2012 INT Rome Italy 10–42 New Zealand (Tries 1-5 )
2009 INT Milan Italy 6–20 New Zealand (Tries 0-1 )
2009 INT Christchurch New Zealand 27–6 Italy (Tries 3-0)
2007 RWC Marseille New Zealand 76–14 Italy (Tries 11-2)
2004 INT Rome Italy 10–59 New Zealand (Tries 1-9 )
2003 RWC Melbourne New Zealand 70–7 Italy (Tries 11-1)
Early Betting – Handicap
New Zealand -41.5 points at 9/10
Italy +41.5 points at 9/10
Quotes are an average of what was on offer from a selection of bookmakers at the time of writing and are subject to change.
@brentgraham will deliver his verdict on this game nearer to matchday.
Bet: to follow