Braam Steyn starred as Italy hammered Canada 48-7 in their Pool B World Cup encounter in Fukuoka on Thursday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Italy produced a rampant display of power up front and finesse at the back to overpower the hapless Canucks. And this second consecutive win for the Azzurri will serve as timely confidence booster in the lead-up to their two tough upcoming fixtures against the All Blacks and Springboks.
Assuming there are no upsets in this pool, this result will mean a top-three pool finish and thus automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup in France.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 26, 2019
Before kick-off, Italy’s coach Conor O’Shea lamented his charges’ lack of clinical execution despite creating opportunities in their previous Test against Namibia. He demanded an increase in intensity and aggression, and a greater show of execution this time around. And, despite the 10 personnel changes to the starting lineup, Italy answered his call as they ran in seven tries against a passive Canada defence.
Italy sped out to 17-point lead inside the opening 15 minutes courtesy of converted tries by Steyn and Dean Budd and a penalty from Tommy Allan. Making matters worse for Canada, were the triple injury-enforced substitutions they had to make, coupled with a several wasted opportunities – none more so than when one of those early replacements, Matt Heaton, spurned an easy try when he dropped the ball cold in front of the line with no defenders in sight.
In danger of it becoming a first-half blowout, Canada somehow managed to stem the points flow for the remainder of the half. Italy continued to press in the second half and were rewarded with five more tries, including a penalty try against Heaton for deliberately collapsing a maul. Heaton were also yellow-carded for the cynical infringement.
Canada would finally get a try late in the game, but it was a mere consolation in the grand scheme of things.
Italy – Tries: Braam Steyn, Dean Budd, Sebastian Negri, penalty try, Mattia Bellini, Federico Zani, Matteo Minozzi. Conversions: Tommy Allan (3), Automatic conversion, Carlo Canna. Penalty: Allan.
Canada – Try: Andrew Coe. Conversion: Peter Nelson.
Italy – 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Giulio Bisegni, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd (c), 4 David Sisi, 3 Simone Pietro Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Maxime Mbanda, 21 Guglielmo Palazanni, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Mattia Bellini.
Canada – 15 Patrick Parfrey, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben LeSage, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron (c), 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Mike Sheppard, 5 Josh Larsen, 4 Conor Keys, 3 Matthew Tierney, 2 Eric Howard, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Subs: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Luke Campbell, 20 Matt Heaton, 21 Jamie Mackenzie, 22 Ciaran Hearn, 23 Andrew Coe.
Photo: @RugbyWorldCup/Twitter/Getty Images