Italy fight back against Samoa

Italy overturned a seven-point deficit to claim a 24-13 victory over Samoa in Ascoli on Saturday.

The hosts have not won a single match this year and have lost twice to Samoa in the past 18 months. But when New Zealand-born flyhalf Kelly Haimona's penalty gave Italy an early lead, they looked on course for a first win in 10 attempts.

The Samoans, however, didn't make it easy for the Italians. Tusi Pisi kicked a penalty before flank Jack Lam's converted touchdown on the 30-minute mark handed the Pacific Islanders a 10-3 advantage at the break.

Italy delivered a more polished performance in the second stanza and soon after the break, Haimona cut Samoa's lead with a well-taken penalty. Italy then set up a lineout deep in Samoan territory and lock Joshua Furna jumped high to secure the ball. The ball was passed to Simone Favaro at the back of a strong driving maul and the flank fell down over the tryline.

Pisi slotted a second penalty, as the lead exchanged hands again, but that would be their last points of the match.

Skipper Sergio Parisse's crucial try either side of two Haimoma penalties were enough, as the Azzurri recorded their first win since November 2013.

Italy – Tries: Simone Favaro, Sergio Parisse. Conversion: Kelly Haimona. Penaties: Haimona (4).
Samoa – Try: Jack Lam. Conversion: Tusi Pisi. Penalties: Pisi (2).

Italy – 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Luke Mclean, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Kelly Haimona, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Matias Aguero.
Subs: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.

Samoa – 15 Fa'atoina Autagavaia, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Piula Fa'asalele, 5 Fa'atiga Lemalu, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Subs: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Alvert Toetu, 18 Viliamu Afatia, 19 Teofilo Paulo, 20 Maurie Faasavalu, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 Michael Stanley, 23 Winston Stanley.

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams