Italy put Chicago defeat behind them with win over Georgia
Conor O’Shea’s side run in four tries in Florence encounter
Italy’s outhalf Tommaso Allan runs in to score a try during the autumn international against Georgia in Florence. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
Italy 28 Georgia 17
Italy boosted their case for continued inclusion in the Six Nations on Saturday with a 28-17 win over Georgia in Florence, the team often cited as having better credentials.
Conor O’Shea’s side scored four tries, including one by Tommaso Allan who also kicked two penalties and a conversion, in the first meeting of the sides since 2003.
The game was seen as an unofficial test of Italy’s right to stay in the Six Nations, where they have not won a match since 2015 and have finished bottom for the last three seasons.
Georgia have won the Europe International Championships – effectively a second-tier event – for eight of the last 10 seasons but there is no promotion and relegation between the two competitions.
After Allan converted an early penalty, a stunning solo try from Georgia’s Tamaz Mchedlidze and a Soso Matiashvili conversion gave the visitors an early 7-3 lead.
Italy increased their lead with further tries by Simone Ferrari and Allan. Matiashvili converted a penalty in between and Georgia reduced the arrears with a penalty try.
ITALY: L Sperandio; T Benvenuti, M Campagnaro, T Castello, M Bellini; T Allan, T Tebaldi; A Lovotti, L Ghiraldini, S Ferrari; A Zanni, D Budd; S Negri, J Polledri, B Steyn.
Replacements: T Pasquali for Ferrari (56 mins), M Fuser for Zanni (62), J Meyer for Negri (64), C Traore for Lovotti, L Bigi for Ghiraldini, G Palazzani for Tebaldi (all 72), C Canna for Allan (76). Not used: L Morisi. Sin bin: Benvenuti (63).
GEORGIA: S Matiashvili; G Koshadze, M Sharikadze, T Mchedlidze, Z Dzneladze; L Khmaladze, V Lobzhanidze; M Nariashvili, J Bregvadze, D Kubriashvili; N Tcheishvili, L Lomidze; O Giorgadze, G Tsutskiridze, B Gorgadze.
Replacements: G Kveseladze for Koshadze (45), L Chilachava for Kubriashvili (48), B Bitsadze for Giorgadze (56), Z Zhvania for Nariashvili, S Mamukashvilli for Bregvadze (both 59), S Sutiashvili for Tcheishvili (67), L Malaguradze for Khmaladze (80). Not used: G Aprasidze. Sin bin: Tsutskiridze (28).