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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Italy ease to seven-try win over Namibia

Conor O’Shea’s side had to hold firm through a drastic change in conditions and an early setback.

Italy 47

Namibia 22

AFTER THE TITANIC tussle that got Pool B underway in the World Cup weekend’s headline act, this morning it was the turn of the undercard contenders.

Conor O’Shea’s sid never truly needed to reach before third gear, but emerged with the bonus point victory after a sopping wet third quarter of the contest and so take a – most likely temporary – place at the top of the pool above New Zealand and South Africa.

The Azzurri succeeded in doing the crucial damage in the first-half before conditions turned nasty, with a penalty try coming before scores from Tommaso Allan and Tito Tebaldi.

Edoardo Padovani dotted down the fourth with 43 minutes on the clock and the fitness gap between the sides became evident as they sustained a tempo while conditions deteriorated.

japan-rugby-wcup-italy-namibia Damian Stevens runs in Namibia's first-half try. Source: ç≤ì°óDé˜

Conor O’Shea’s men were given an early wake-up call in the contest, Namibia’s handling skill seemed to take them by surprise and a sharp back-line set-play gave Chad Plato room to break a tackle down the right. He passed back inside for centre Darryl de la Harpe who set scrum-half Damian Stevens away to the line.

Nipped by the underdogs, Italy responded with their chief weapon, the pack forcing a penalty try eight minutes later to restore parity before Mike Catt’s attack began to shine through.  A Sergio Parisse offload sparked a flowing right-to-left move that set Maxime Mbanda charging up the touchline.

The move ended up in a Parisse knock-on on the right wing and it was Hayward’s turn to spill minutes later after Tommaso Benvenuti’s big break was followed by a poor, low pass from Allan.

The reward for their ambition came through a sharp Luca Morisi break on 25 minutes, the centre was reined in 10 metres from the line, but kept the ball alive for Tebaldi to scoop it into the path of Allan on a scything line under the posts.

japan-rugby-wcup-italy-namibia Luca Bigi tackled by Namibia’s Andre Rademeyer. Source: ç‚ñÏàÍòY

Tebaldi was then celebrating a try of his own in the left-hand corner on the stroke of half-time, breaking away thanks to a sublime no-look pass from lock Federico Ruzza.

21-7 to the good at the interval, Italy set about looking for the bonus point after the heavens had opened in Osaka. With the speed of Namibia’s play on and off the ball noticeably reduced, an early line-out provided the attacking platform for the Six Nations strugglers before Benvenuti cleverly kicked through the advancing line for Padovani to score the bonus point-try.

Carlo Canna arrived on the field and scored to bring Italy up to the 35-point mark. Jake Polledri and Matteo Minozzi kept the board ticking upward after Cliven Loubser’s penalty and a try from JC Greyling gave Namibia reason to celebrate as the weather turned to sun again.

Despite defeat, it was Namibia celebrating late in the tie too as Plato rounded off the match with a deserved score after he played such a key part in the opener.

 

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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