Despite the bonus-point win, the wild boards were scratchy and lacked concentration in their World Cup opener
After 80 minutes of non-remarkable rugby, Italy’s players bowed to the spectators more in an apologetic than in a triumphant way. They didn’t perform as the 20 odd thousand in Hanazono were hoping. Sure, they got the win, but it wasn’t exciting Rugby. With a likely win against Canada, they still give themselves a fighting chance of making it out of Pool B. Just one small problem; the All Black, and the Springboks.
A total of ten tries, one being a penalty try, were on display in a warm and – either sides of the pause – very wet Japanese afternoon.
On a wet Japanese afternoon, Italy scored ten trys to three, with one a penalty try. Aside from the evergreen Sergio Parisse running out in his FIFTH (not a typo) world cup, the match will not be remembered for much else. Both teams committed a ton of handling errors, defended and attacked lousily, and lacked any discipline.
Namibia was surprisingly first on the board after only 5 minutes, all from a bad lineout from Italy. The Welwitschias profited from the wrong positioning of the Azzurri’s backs to strike with scrum-half Stevens.
Damian Stevens dives for the first try of the match
Italy responded immediately, thanks to their superior scrum running over their opponents for a textbook penalty try.
Conor O’Shea’s men made the best of the ball scoring another 4 unanswered tries both side of the interval with four different players: Allan, Tebaldi, Bellini and Canna.
Namibia scored early in the second half, with a penalty goal from Loubser, then with a try to Greying. Italy quickly hosed down any faint hope of a comeback with two other 5 pointers. Polledri and Canna with his second.
Namibia had the last say, thanks to Plato scoring their third major of the game.
At the end of the game Conor O’Shea admitted that his team performed sub-par, but also said that if they could score 7 tries despite not having played at their best, they deserve some credit.
Man of the match Italy’s Federico Ruzza breaking the line
Italy will have to improve for the next game against Canada in Fukuoka. From there, it only gets harder, with matches against the Bokke, then the All Blacks.
Tito Tebaldi and Nic Barry wondering what is the odd-shaped white object lying on the grass
Score & Scorers
Tries: Allan, Tefaldi, Padovani, Canna, Polledri, Minozzi
Conversions: Allan (3), Canna (2)
Tries: Stevens, Greyling, Plato
Conversions: Loubser (2)
Penalties: Loubser (1)