An opening defeat by France that put their quarter-final hopes in jeopardy was forgotten as they ran in 14 tries in Lyon, eventually winning 96-17.
Savea told ITV1: “Not just myself but all the boys that played tonight, to put that effort in, I’m very proud.
“We’ve got talent across the board. We hadn’t really clicked but tonight we played some free rugby and that’s how I want my boys to play. We put a lot into this week and we got the rewards tonight.”
Centre Jordie Barrett added: “It’s massively satisfying. We didn’t start the tournament the way we wanted to but we put a few things in place and a step in the right direction tonight.”
He is not getting carried away about the All Blacks’ chances in the tournament as a whole, though, saying: “We’re one day at a time. I know it sounds cliche but we nailed our preparation for this game.
“We’ve got Uruguay in front of us in six days’ time so we’re not going to treat our preparation any differently and anything further than that is a bonus.”
Italy now face the prospect of having to beat France to have any chance of reaching the last eight, and fly-half Tommaso Allan felt his side contributed heavily to their downfall.
“When you give so many penalties away against New Zealand and they keep playing in your half, they’re going to keep scoring,” he said. “We lost all our scrums, lost all our line-outs really, so it’s just tough to start from that.
“We talked at half-time about trying to get some confidence for next week. We know it’s going to be as tough as this if not tougher. We’ve just got to stick together now. Start from scratch, don’t even think about this game, throw it in the bin.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/all-blacks-ardie-savea-jordie-barrett-new-zealand-italy-b2421332.html Captain Ardie Savea proud of New Zealand’s 14-try drubbing of Italy