Rugby World Cup: Italy run in a magnificent seven in win over Namibia
Africans took the lead before Conor O’Shea’s side took control soon after
Jake Polledri of Italy is tackled during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between Italy and Namibia at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka, Osaka, Japan. Photo: Koki Nagahama/Getty Images
Italy scored seven tries as they launched their Rugby World Cup campaign with a straightforward 47-22 win over Namibia in Higashiosaka.
Damian Stevens scored an early try for Namibia to hint at an upset but Italy’s extra skill and class eventually shone through as they ran out comfortable victors.
Namibia took the lead just five minutes into the Pool B clash through scrum-half Stevens.
Janco Venter gathered the loose ball after an Italian lineout went wrong and after the ball was played down the line, winger Chad Plato broke through three tackles before feeding back inside for Stevens to run in under the posts.
Italy drew level five minutes later through a penalty try after Namibia collapsed a scrum five metres out.
The Azzurri went ahead after 25 minutes when Luca Morisi broke the defensive line and the ball was worked back inside for fly-half Tommaso Allan to run onto the ball at pace and crash over.
Three quick tries either side of half-time effectively put the game to bed.
A fine no-look pass from second row Federico Ruzza sent in Tito Tebaldi at the end of the first half before Tommaso Benvenuti’s crossfield kick was picked up by Edoardo Padovani to slide in. Carlo Canna then went over following a ruck.
JC Greyling scored in the corner for Namibia but Italy finished strong and Jake Polledri peeled off the back of the maul to crash over and Matteo Minozzi coasted in after Italy spread the ball wide from a lineout.
Plato then burst clear for a late consolation for the battling Namibians.
Italy: Hayward, Bellini, Benvenuti, Morisi, Padovani; Allan, Tebaldi; Quaglio, Bigi, Pasquali, Zanni, Ruzza, Steyn, Mbanda, Parisse.
Replacements: Fabiani, Ferrari, Riccioni, Budd, Polledri, Palazzani, Canna, Minozzi.
Namibia: Tromp, Plato, Newman, De la Harpe, Greyling; Loubser, Stevens; Rademeyer, Van Jaarsveld, Coetzee, Van Lill, Uanivi, Kitshoff, Conradie, Venter.
Replacements: Van der Westhuizen, De Klerk, Theron, Retief, Katjijeko, Walters, Jantjies, Kisting.