James Mortimer 18.Nov.2012Getty Images
As it was in 2009, Italy frustrated the World Champions for long periods, but the difference in the match in Rome this morning (NZT) was that the Azzurri seemed to have plenty of confidence in taking on the All Blacks with ball in hand.
What was more impressive was that their usual competitiveness remained, with history pointing to numerous examples where teams trying to move the ball or emulate the All Blacks often results in big wins for the New Zealanders.
But throughout the match the sight of the home team attacking the world’s best side had the packed house in Rome making plenty of noise, and when centre Alberto Sgrabi touched down to make it a 13-7 halftime score, one would have expected a fairly direct speech from the All Blacks coaching staff in the sheds.
Parisse cut an unhappy captain post-match, but said his charges were clearly an evolved unit from the team that played the All Blacks three years ago.
“We were up against a great side, but it's upsetting to lose like that,” he said.
“However today we have shown that we can make plays and cause problems.”
“I don't want to talk about 2009, because today we tried to move the ball. We tried to play a more interesting rugby than we have in the past (as) we looked to involve the backs.”
Match highlights - All Blacks v Italy 12615 views