Flyhalf Tommy Allan contributed 13 points as Italy defeated Georgia 28-17 in Firenza on Saturday.
Georgia competed valiantly in the opening 30 minutes and even scored the first try of the game. But Italy came into their own as the match progressed to claim a comfortable win.
A penalty by Allan, the nephew of former Sharks and Bok hooker John, gave Italy the lead in the 10th minute, but with their forwards dominating the ruck area, Georgia went on the attack and were rewarded with a try by Tamaz Mchedlidze.
Italy regained the lead through outside centre Michele Campagnaro’s try and continued to apply pressure on Georgia’s defensive line. The visitors’ resistance crumbled as the half drew to a close, with Italy adding eight points – including a try from left wing Mattia Bellini – for an 18-7 advantage.
The hosts put their foot on the accelerator after the resumption, adding two further tries through prop Simone Ferrari and Allan.
A penalty kick from Soso Matiashvili and a penalty try allowed Georgia to finish with a flourish after Italy’s Tommaso Benvenuti had been yellow-carded.
Italy – Tries: Michele Campagnaro, Mattia Bellini, Simone Ferrari, Tommy Allan. Conversion: Allan. Penalties: Allan (2).
Georgia – Tries: Tamaz Mchedlidze, penalty try. Conversion: Soso Matiashvili. Penalty: Matiashvili.
Italy – 15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore’, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Luca Morisi.
Georgia – 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 Merab Sharikadze (c), 12 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 11 Zurab Dzneladze, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 6 Otar Giorgadze, 5 Lasha Lomidze, 4 Nodar Tcheishvili, 3 Dudu Kubriashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Subs: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Zurab Zhvania, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Shalva Sutiashvili, 20 Beka Bitsadze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Lasha Malaghuradze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze.
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP