Florence - Italy proved too strong for Georgia as they claimed a
hard-fought 28-17 victory in their November international in Florence on
In a fast paced and exciting game, Italy were the dominant
side for most of the match and eventually outscored their visitors by four
tries to two with Tommaso Allan contributing 13 points courtesy of a try, two
penalties and a conversion.
The result is a significant one for the Azzurri as it is
only their second triumph of 2018 and follows their win over Japan in Kobe in
Italy had the better of the early exchanges and opened the
scoring in the 10th minute courtesy of an Allan penalty after Georgia's
backline strayed offside on defence.
Despite that setback, Georgia were soon camped inside
Italy's 22 and in the 16th minute Tamaz Mtchedlidze gathered a long pass from
Vasil Lobzhanidze and showed great strength and leg-drive to shrug off three
defenders before scoring the opening try.
Soso Matiashvili slotted the conversion but Italy did not
take long to respond as five minutes later Michele Campagnaro bumped off Lasha
Khmaladze before stepping past three challengers on his way over the try-line.
Allan added the extras which gave the Azzurri a 10-7 lead
but the Lelos had a chance to draw level shortly afterwards, when Italy were
blown up for a scrum infringement, but Matiashvili's shot at goal was wide of
In the 28th minute, Georgia were dealt a blow when Giorgi
Tsutskiridze was yellow carded for taking out Luca Sperandio in an aerial
challenge. As expected, Italy dominated proceedings for the next 10 minutes and
after Allan slotted the resulting penalty, they spent large periods camped inside
the Lelos' half.
Shortly after Tsutskiridze's exit, Braam Steyn went over the
whitewash from close quarters but television replays could not reveal whether
he grounded the ball.
And in the 34th minute, Tommaso Castello was in the clear
inside Georgia's 22 but instead of pinning his ears back and heading for the
corner, he stepped inside where his progress was halted by the cover defence.
The dam wall eventually burst in the 39th minute when Mattia
Bellini ran onto a pass from Tito Tebaldi before rounding Giorgi Koshadze and
dotting down in the left-hand corner.
Allan's conversion attempt was off target but the home side
went into the sheds at half-time with an 18-7 lead.
The Azzurri were fastest out of the blocks in the second
half and three minutes after the restart, Simone Ferrari crossed the whitewash
from close range for his side's third try.
That gave them a 23-7 lead but Matiashvili reduced the
deficit 10 minutes later via a penalty after another indiscretion at a scrum
from the Azzurri.
Italy continued to hold the upper hand, however, and in the
57th minute Steyn put Allan in the clear with a well-timed pass and the Azzurri
flyhalf showed a superb turn of speed to outpace the cover defence before
crossing for a deserved try in the left-hand corner.
Despite that try, Georgia did not surrender and they were
rewarded with a penalty try in the 63rd minute when Tommaso Benvenuti was blown
up for early tackle on Beka Bitsadze close to Italy's try-line, and the Azzurri
wing was also sent to the sin bin for that offence.
With a numerical advantage, Georgia upped the ante on attack
but they were met by a solid defensive effort from their hosts, who did well to
prevent any further points from being scored during the rest of the match.
Tries: Camapagnaro, Bellini, Ferrari, Allan
Penalties: Allan 2
Yellow Card: Benvenuti
Tries: Mtchedlidze, Penalty try
Yellow Card: Tsutskiridze
15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele
Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito
Tebaldi, 8 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean
Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1
Substitutes: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traorè, 18 Tiziano
Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo
Canna, 23 Luca Morisi
15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 Merab
Sharikadze (captain), 12 Tamaz Mtchedlidze, 11 Zurab Dzneladze, 10 Lasha
Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 6 Otar
Giorgadze, 5 Lasha Lomidze, 4 Nodar Tcheishvili, 3 Dudu Kubriashvili, 2 Jaba
Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Substitutes: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Zurab Zhvania, 18
Levan Chilachava, 19 Shalva Sutiashvili, 20 Beka Bitsadze, 21 Gela Aprasidze,
22 Lasha Malaghuradze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze