Nelson - Italy hammered debutants Russia 53-17 on Tuesday to keep their Rugby World Cup hopes alive with their biggest ever win in the tournament.
Six Nations team raced out of the blocks with six tries in the first
half before Russia, who celebrated their historic first ever World Cup
tries, recovered with a vastly improved second period.
bonus-point win keeps Italy in the running for the quarter-finals
despite their opening loss to Australia, with a crunch encounter with
Ireland looming on October 2.
Italy's scrum savaged the Russian
forwards in the first half and they capitalised on a host of errors as
captain Sergio Parisse surged through a gap in the defence to open the
scoring on six minutes.
Winger Giulio Toniolatti then scored twice
in 10 minutes either side of a try by Tommaso Benvenuti, who pounced
when a loose ball slid under the diving body of the last Russian
Italy were awarded a penalty try when their forwards
crushed the Russian scrum but they suffered a blow when Fabio Ongaro was
sin-binned for a thumping, shoulder-first collision which laid out
full-back Igor Klyuchnikov.
And Russia took full advantage when
replacement scrum-half Alexander Yanyushkin darted through for an
unorthodox, over-the-head score after landing on his back in the tackle
-- the country's first ever try at the World Cup.
just before half-time to make it 38-7 at the break and Benvenuti grabbed
his second eight minutes into the second period, but Russia were not
done and Vladimir Ostroushko motored over on the right to keep the
scores at 43-12.
Australian-born Luke McLean got Italy's eighth
try on 64 minutes but Alexey Makovetskiy received a looping cut-out pass
in acres of space on the right to raise Russian hopes of a bonus-point
However it was Italy who would have the final say when
flanker Alessandro Zanni flattened two defenders to score in the 75th
Italy have never reached the World Cup quarter-finals in
six previous attempts. Their largest victory before Tuesday had been
their 31-5 win over Portugal in 2007.
Italy now play the United States next week while Russia face Ireland on Sunday.Teams
15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Tommaso
Benvenuti, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Riccardo Bocchino, 9
Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Paul
Derbyshire, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo
Cittadini, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Salvatore Perugini
Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Martin Castrogiovanni, 18 Cornelius van Zyl, 19
Alessandro Zanni, 20 Pablo Canavosio, 21 Luciano Orquera, 22Alberto
15 Igor Klyuchnikov, 14 Vasily Artemyev,
13 Andrey Kuzin, 12 Alexey Makovetskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10
Konstantin Rachkov, 9 Alexander Shakirov, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Andrey
Garbuzov, 6 Vyacheslav Grachev, 5 Adam Byrnes, 4 Alexander Voytov, 3
Ivan Prishchepenko, 2 Vladislav Korshunov (captain), 1 Vladimir
Substitutes: 16 Valery Tsnobiladze, 17 Alexander
Khrokin, 18 Denis Antonov, 19 Artem Fatakhov, 20 Alexander Yanyushkin,
21 Mikhail Sidorov, 22Yury Kushnarev