Rome - Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked 14 points to help a
defensively-astute Argentina to a deserved 19-14 win over Italy in the
hosts' final Test of the November series on Saturday.
thumped 40-6 by Wales last week, came to the Italian capital looking for
their first win of their European tour, having also succumbed to
England at Twickenham.
And the Pumas produced a solid defensive
display at a rain-hit Olympic Stadium as a Sanchez drop goal six minutes
from the whistle Sent Italy back to the drawing board.
50-20 humiliation by Australia two weeks ago and a narrow 37-31 win
against Fiji last week, Jacques Brunel's Italy were desperate for a win
that would help boost morale after an unimpressive series.
despite showing glimpses of positive, attacking rugby, they were left to
rue what might have been as Tommaso Allan, making his full debut
alongside Michele Campagnaro, missed several chances with the boot.
Allan, a former Scotland under-20 player, hit three penalties in the first half.
even before the break he had shown nerves and Argentina ultimately went
in for the break 10-9 to the good after Sanchez had converted Juan
Imhoff's 20th minute try and added a penalty.
Heavy rain and a
lack of discipline from both sides had ended early hopes for a flowing,
open game of rugby fairly quickly but the second half started in more
Italy pushed into Argentina's 22 and were
awarded a penalty when No. 8 Benjamin Macome was penalised for upending
scrun-half Edoardo Gori.
Allan, however, spurned the chance to restore Italy's lead when he drove his effort just wide of the left upright.
enjoyed a dominant spell but were meeting plenty of resistance and
Allan's miss was felt when Sanchez sent an easy penalty over to give
Argentina a 13-9 lead on 55 minutes after Martin Castrogiovanni had been
penalised at the ruck.
Italy set up camp in Argentina's half but
were failing to breach the Pumas backline and were only given a boost
when Marcos Ayerza was sent to the sin-bin.
After winning the line-out, Italy worked the ball metres from the tryline and were eventually rewarded just after the hour.
took a video decision but Campagnaro was credited with the try having
got his finger to the ball after Allan's smart cross-kick had escaped
the hands of Luke McLean and Giovanbattista Venditti.
From a tight
angle Allan missed the conversion to leave Italy with a slim one-point
lead and after one Sanchez penalty miss from distance the fly-half soon
had the visitors 16-14 in front with another three-pointer after an
Italian infringement at the ruck.
Argentina welcomed Ayerza back
and had soon set up camp close to Italy's tryline, and when Sanchez
collected Tomas Cubelli's pass he colly fired over the drop to extend
the visitors' lead to 19-14.