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All Blacks vs. Italy: Whitelock’s Historic Moment

Sam Whitelock Rugby World Cup
Credit: IMAGO / Inpho Photography

Friday evening sees New Zealand taking on Italy as the All Blacks look to book their spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Aside from reaching the last eight of the tournament, the match could also be a historical moment in All Blacks history, with Sam Whitelock set to become the most-capped New Zealand player of all time.

Level with All Blacks legend Richie McCaw on 148 caps, Whitelock has been named on the bench for the clash against Italy, and it would be no shock to see the lock take the field at some stage.

An appearance off the bench would also see Whitelock equal the record of World Cup appearances with 22, level with McCaw and former England international Jason Leonard.

Whitelock made his debut for the All Blacks in 2010 against Ireland, scoring two tries in the process, and he has since gone on to become one of the top players for his country.

His list of honours is unique, including two Rugby World Cups, 12 Tri-Nations/Rugby Championships, and seven Super Rugby titles with his club, the Crusaders.

And Whitelock will look to do his bit on Friday evening to help the All Blacks reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the tenth consecutive time.

Having been edged out by hosts France in the tournamentโ€™s opening game, New Zealand recorded a comfortable 71-3 victory over Namibia and know that a win over Italy will likely seal their spot in the knockout stages, with a final pool game against Uruguay to come.

Italy head into this game on the back of two wins over Uruguay and Namibia but now face New Zealand and France in their final two pool matches.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has named a full-strength lineup for this must-win clash, and itโ€™s likely that New Zealand will want to put in a solid performance to fire a warning shot to those who have written them off for this tournament.

This will be the sixteenth time these nations have faced each other, and itโ€™s a fixture that the All Blacks have been dominant in, winning all 15 previous games.

Four of these matches were played at neutral stadiums, with an aggregate score of 278-45 to New Zealand.

The bookmakers have set the handicap in the high 20s for this clash, but 12 of New Zealandโ€™s wins over Italy have been by more than 30 points, and thereโ€™s every chance it could land again in this match-up.

Scott McGlynn
42 articles
Scott is an experienced betting content writer supplying content to major bookmakers and several sports betting websites. His passions are horse racing and Scottish football, and heโ€™s a regular attendee at racetracks at home and abroad.
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