Americans make Azzurri sweat

Hooker Ornel Gega scored two tries as Italy beat the USA 24-20 in San Jose on Saturday.

Gega crossed the line either side of half-time, while Italy flyhalf Carlo Canna slotted three penalties, a conversion and a drop goal for a 14-point haul.

The USA led 10-3 after 21 minutes thanks to a penalty try that came after a deliberate knock-on from Canna. But Gega's first try and a penalty from Canna saw Italy lead 11-10 at the break.

The hosts suffered a big setback in the 56th minute of the match when No 8 Cam Dolan was yellow-carded for dangerous play at a lineout. Italy kicked the resultant penalty to touch and Gega went over from the lineout driving maul to make it 21-13.

The USA hit back with a 70th-minute converted try to replacement Tony Lamborn, but Canna's third penalty secured the win for Italy.

Meanwhile, Canada scored six tries in their 46-21 win over Russia in Calgary. Scrumhalf Gordon McRorie finished with a 26-point haul via two tries, five conversions and two penalties.

USA – Tries: Penalty try, Tony Lamborn. Conversions: AJ MacGinty (2). Penalties: MacGinty (2).
Italy – Tries: Ornel Gega (2). Conversion: Carlo Canna. Penalties: Canna (3). Drop goal: Canna.

USA – 15 Will Holder, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Thretton Palamo, 12 Shalom Suniula, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Todd Clever (c), 6 Andrew Durutalo, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Titi Lamositele.
Subs: 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Ben Tarr, 18 Angus MacLellan, 19 Stephen Tomasin, 20 Harry Higgins, 21 Tony Lamborn, 22 Chad London, 23 Mike Te’o.

Italy – 15 Luke McLean, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 David Odiete, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Andries van Schalkwyk, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Robert Barbieri, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Sami Panico, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Maxime Mbandà, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommy Allan, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.

Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt