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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Kirwan cheered in defeat
Matthew Phillips
Matt Phillips scored Italy's only try
Italy coach John Kirwan hailed his team's efforts in defeat against the All Blacks.

New Zealand ran out comprehensive 70-7 winners in a one-sided match in Melbourne, scoring 11 tries in the process.

However, Kirwan saw cause for confidence from his sides performance.

"They showed a lot of courage and commitment in a difficult ask first up against the All Blacks," he said.

Italy scored one try through Kiwi-born number eight Matthew Phillips, but continually took the game to their opponents.

And captain Carlos Checchinato repeatedly spurned opportunities to kick at goal, instead opting to go for a try.

With a bonus point on offer for teams scoring four tries in a match, Italy know any extras they can pick up could prove crucial in what promises to be a tight pool.

"It was nice for the guys to get a try and they gave it everything which was nice to see," Kirwan added.

"There were some good passages of play but I have got to take my hat off to the All Blacks and wish them all the best."

But the New Zealand match is now in the past as Kirwan, who rested some key players in Melbourne, turns his attention to Tonga who are next up for the Italians on Wednesday in Canberra.

"It is tough against the All Blacks. They played very well and now we need to concentrate on our next two games.

"We've important matches coming up and we've got to focus on those now.

"Our toughest game is on Wednesday, it's a big turnaround and we've got to get back into it and get ready for that now."





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