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All Blacks battle past Italy in San Siro

Luke McAlister of the All Blacks is tackled in the San Siro clash.
Luke McAlister of the All Blacks is tackled in the San Siro clash.
  • New Zealand All Blacks beat Italy 20-6 in rugby union international
  • A massive crowd of 80,000 watched the game in San Siro stadium
  • England and Scotland register wins over Argentina and Fiji
  • France score superb win over world champions South Africa

(CNN) -- The New Zealand All Blacks gave their nation double reason for cheer with a 20-6 win Italy before a massive crowd at the San Siro in Milan.

With their football counterparts qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals with a win over Bahrain earlier on Saturday, it was left to Graham Henry's men to complete the double.

But they were given a tough fight by underdogs Italy, who were inspired by an 80,000 crowd in a stadium normally reserved for Serie A giants Inter and AC Milan.

Henry fielded a largely second-string team after last week's 19-12 defeat of Wales in Cardiff.

Italy briefly led as former Australian rugby league international Craig Gower kicked a penalty.

But New Zealand pulled ahead with two Luke McAlister penalties and Corey Flynn put them further ahead with the only try of the game after 25 minutes.

McAlister landed another penalty before halftime to send the visitors into the break with a 14-3 lead.

After the interval he kicked two further penalties with Gower getting his second for Italy.

The All Blacks next play England, who saw off Argentina 16-9 at Twickenham in a poor quality match in difficult conditions.

A late try by Matt Banahan gave Martin Johnson's men the edge and his sixth win from 13 games in charge.

Fly-half star Jonny Wilkinson provided all of England's points in the first half, with a drop-goal and two penalties as the scores were tied at 9-9 at the half.

Center Martin Rodriguez, one of a trio of Argentina debutants, kicked three penalties from five attempts to keep them level until the late home try.

In other international action, former England coach Andy Robinson led his new Scotland team to a 23-10 win over Fiji.

Johnnie Beattie and Graeme Morrison went over for tries for Scotland at Murrayfield.

On Friday night, France shocked world champions South Africa 20-13 in Toulouse.

The Tri-Nations champions paid the price for ill-discipline as Julien Dupuy kicked four penalties and Morgan Parra one.

Winger Vincent Clerc capped a fine performance for the home side with a try.

South Africa's points came from Morne Steyn with a penalty and drop-goal as well as converting a fine try by captain John Smit.