Monday 25 September 2017

Wallabies get back on track with Azzurri annihilation

Italy 20 Austrailia 50

Australia bounced back from their England defeat to record a resounding victory over Italy in their second Autumn International at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Wallabies lost 20-13 to England last weekend in what was their eighth defeat of the year, but managed to put in a solid performance in Turin to see off the Italians.

The home side took the lead through Luke McLean before Australia struck back with a brace of tries from Nick Cummins and one apiece from Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane and Israel Folau. Tommaso Allan added a second for Italy in the dying minutes but by then it was too late.

Alberto di Bernardo's penalty gave put Italy ahead after four minutes. The first scrum came minutes later and had to be re-packed three times after collapsing.

Matt Toomua stole the ball away for the Wallabies, with James Horwill and Kuridrani on the other side, but Italy put up a good defence. Kuridrani lost the ball following a high pass and the home side were soon on the counter attack as they found space on the right and McLean crossed over for the opening try to make it 8-0. Di Bernardo added the extras.

Australia began to attack and their efforts soon paid off as they came back with a try of their own 15 minutes in. Kuridrani and Folau put the pressure on for Ewen McKenzie's side with Sitaleki Timani just short of the line, while Quade Cooper set up captain Mowen, who beat Sergio Parisse and crashed over for a fine try. Cooper was successful with the conversion.

The Wallabies continued to push forward and Cummins made a break for it, offloading to Kuridrani and the Brumbies outside-centre crossed over for their second try – with Cooper again on target with the conversion.

Australia scored again as the game approached half-time as Will Genia collected the ball after exploiting an overlap in the ruck after a lineout and he set up Cummins before the Italians could get into position. The hosts tried to pull something back just before the break but could not add to their points tally, leaving them trailing 19-10 after the first half.

The Azzurri started the second on a better footing than they ended the first and won a lineout from which Di Bernardo was in possession but lost the ball under pressure from Michael Hooper.

The Wallabies who extended their lead as Cooper collected the ball after James Horwill won a lineout, and the outhalf found Cummings with an fine fine pass for their fourth try.

As the match approached the hour mark, Australia continued to punish the home side after Genia and James Slipper almost combined to score before Ashley-Cooper trailed the outside shoulder alongside Cooper and took the pass to fire his side further ahead. Italy came back as Lorenzo Cittadini crossed over to reduce the deficit, but it was not long before Australia scored again.

Christian Lealiifano added a penalty and Tomane crossed over moments before Folau claimed a try of his own after collecting Tomane's pass. Lealiifano was on target with both goals. Following a couple of incomplete scrums, the home side won the ball and ran hard down at the other end as Allan saw off Saia Fainga'a to bring the score back to 50-20.

Scorers – Italy: L McClean, L Cittadini, T Allan try each, A di Bernardo con, pen. Australia: N Cummins 2 tries, B Mowen, T Kuridrani, A Ashley-Cooper, J Tomane, I Folau try each, Q Cooper 4 cons, C Leali'ifano 2 cons, pen.

Italy: L McClean; T Benvenuti (T Iannone 60), L Morisi, A Sgarbi, L Sarto; A di Bernardo (T Allan 60), E Gori (T Botes 70); M Rizzo (M Aguero 51), D Giazzon (Q Geldenhuys 51), M Castrogiovanni (L Cittadini 59); A Pavanello (A Ghiraldini 51), M Bortolami (J Furno 64); A Zanni, R Barbieri, S Parisse.

Australia: I Folau; A Ashley-Cooper (L Gill 65), T Kuridrani, M Toomua, N Cummins; Q Cooper (C Leali'ifano 59), W Genia (N White 70); J Slipper (B Robinson 60), S Moore (S Fainga'a 65), B Alexander (S Kepu 51); S Timani (D Dennis 57), J Horwill; R Simmons, M Hooper (J Tomane 65), B Mowen.

Referee: G Jackson (New Zealand)

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