Nicolás Sánchez kicked 13 points as Argentina registered a hard-fought 31-15 win over Italy in Florence on Saturday.
Argentina came into this contest with an impeccable record of six consecutive wins against Italy, who last beat the feisty South Americans nine years ago.
On Saturday, Argentina continued their stranglehold over the Azzurri with another victory, despite an error-strewn performance and a half-time deficit.
Flyhalf Carlo Canna landed three penalties in the first half to give Italy a 9-8 advantage at the halfway mark. Argentina’s points came via a penalty from Juan Martin Hernandez and an unconverted try by wing Sebastian Cancelliere.
The second half was full of twists and turns as the lead exchanged hands five times. Sánchez and Canna traded penalties, while scrumhalf Marcell Violi also chipped in with a well-struck drop goal for Italy.
Heading into the final quarter, Argentina held a slender 17-15 lead, but they managed to extend that advantage when Marcos Kremer went over for the second try of the match. After an 11-phase onslaught, the flank powered through a tackle to score, and Sánchez added the extras for a 24-15 scoreline.
Argentina fullback Joaquin Tuculet then finished off a beautifully worked try to put the result beyond doubt for the visitors.
Italy next take on the Springboks on 25 November in Padova.
Italy – Penalties: Carlo Canna (4). Drop goal: Marcell Violi.
Argentina – Tries: Sebastian Cancelliere, Marcos Kremer, Joaquin Tuculet. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (2). Penalties: Juan Martin Hernandez, Sánchez (3).
Italy – 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tomasso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Giovanni Licara, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi.
Argentina – 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Subs: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Banjamin Macome, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Matias Moroni.
Photo: Andreas Solaro/Getty Images