Ian McKinley makes Italy debut in win over Fiji

Conor O’Shea’s side end nine-match losing streak with victory in Sicily

Fiji number 8 Nemani Nagusa  is tackled by  Tommaso Boni , Tommaso Castello and  Sergio Parisse  of Italy  during the international  Test match at the Angelo Massimino Stadium in Catania, Sicily. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Fiji number 8 Nemani Nagusa is tackled by Tommaso Boni , Tommaso Castello and Sergio Parisse of Italy during the international Test match at the Angelo Massimino Stadium in Catania, Sicily. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

 

Italy 19 Fiji 10

Italy ended a nine-match losing streak with a hard-fought 19-10 victory over Fiji in Catania on Saturday as their Irish-born outhalf, Ian McKinley, became the first man to play in international rugby in specially manufactured goggles.

The 27-year-old former Leinster player lost the sight in his left eye in an on-pitch incident seven years ago but recovered to return to the game and qualify for Italy through residency after joining Italian side Benetton.

McKinley came off the bench as a 61st-minute replacement for Carlo Canna and kicked a penalty to help edge Italy to victory. Canna had earlier struck three penalties and converted Simone Ferrari’s early try.

The visitors, for whom Ben Volavola kicked a penalty, went in level at 10-10 at half-time through Leone Nakarawa’s converted try, but Conor O’Shea’s side edged ahead after the interval to avenge their summer defeat by the Fijians.

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