Italy dominate 13-man Eagles

Date published: June 25 2012

Italy racked up their second win on their tour of the Americas with a 30-10 victory over the USA in Houston, Texas.

Italy racked up their second win on their tour of the Americas with a 30-10 victory over the USA in Houston, Texas.

Carlo Festuccia, Edoardo Gori and Kristopher Burton scored tries as Italy took advantage of two American red cards in the second half.

Paul Emerick scored the lone try for the Eagles before he was sent off in the second half for an illegal tackle. Andrew Suniula also earned a red card for the hosts who played with 13 men for the final 23 minutes in front of a 17,214 crowd – a record for an international rugby match on American soil.

The teams were meeting for the first time since September 2011, when Italy beat the USA 27-10 in pool play of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Riccardo Bocchino kicked three penalties and three conversions for the Italians.

Azzurri captain Martin Castrogiovanni said both teams felt the effects of sweltering heat and humidity that lingered even after the sun went down

“It was really hard for both teams,” said Castrogiovanni.

“After 10 minutes, we were both breathing heavy. We tried to play quickly, but it wasn't easy.”

Italy opened the scoring after just three minutes when Festuccia snatched a wayward line-out throw by the American hooker Chris Biller and outpaced the US defenders to the line.

“It was tough to get out of the gate like that,” said US coach Mike Tolkin.

The USA attack started to gather momentum, putting together some solid phases highlighted by probing runs from the forward pack. The Italians were pinged for not rolling away, and Chris Wyles got the Eagles on the board with a penalty kick from 22 meters out to close the Italian lead to 7-3.

From the ensuing kick-off though, the USA were penalised for obstruction while collecting the restart, and Bocchino slotted the penalty to put the Italians lead back to seven.

The Americans drove deep into Italy's half and Emerick found the tryline after a good USA line-out for the first try for the hosts. Wyles made the conversion to tie it at 10-all.

Bocchino converted another penalty kick from the right with eight minutes left in the half, before Gori found a gap in the US defence and sprinted 40 metres for another Italian try.

Emotions were clearly running high early in the second half when Andrew Suniula was shown a red card for a late hit on Bocchino. The US defence held its own with only 14 players, but then Emerick was whistled for not using his arms in a tackle and was also shown a red card.

“I thought the first one was a little harsh,” said Tolkin.

“The second one, I still haven't seen clearly, so I'll look at that again.”

Bocchino booted another penalty for a 23-10 lead.

In the end, the two-man advantage was an obstacle the Eagles couldn't overcome, and Burton put the final nail in the coffin for the US, diving over for a try in the 77th minute.

The scorers:

For USA :
Try: Emerick
Con: Wyles
Pen: Wyles

For Italy:
Tries: Festuccia, Gori, Burton
Cons:Bocchino 3
Pens: Bocchino 3

Red cards: A. Suniula (USA – 44th min); Emerick (USA – 65th min )

The teams:

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Paterson, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Luke Hume, 10 Roland Suniula, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Todd Clever, 7 Scott Lavalla, 6 Taylor Mokate, 5 Brian Doyle, 4 Louis Stanfill, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Chris Biller, 1 Shawn Pittman.
Replacements: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Tolifili (Andre) Liufau, 19 Andrew Durutalo, 20 Mose Timoteo, 21 Will Holder, 22 Colin Hawley.

Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Tommaso Benvenuti, 10 Riccardo Bocchino, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (capt), 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Simone Favaro, 19 Tommaso D'Apice, 20 Tito Tebaldi, 21 Kristopher Burton, 22 Alberto Sgarbi.

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Referee: Jerome Graces (France)
Assistant Referees: Derek Stoltz (Canada), Marc Nelson (USA)
TMO: Davey Ardrey (USA)