Italy ended their painful thirteen-game losing streak on Saturday with a morale-boosting 24-6 victory over Samoa at the Stadio Del Duca.
Italy ended a painful thirteen-game losing streak on Saturday with a morale-boosting 24-6 victory over Samoa at the Stadio Del Duca.
Despite being without inspirational captain Sergio Parisse due to long-term injury, the Azzurri were a cut above their opponents with Luke McLean's score and a penalty try adding to Craig Gower, Mirco Bergamasco and Tito Tebaldi's kicks.
Nick Mallett's Italy side went into the game at Ascoli Piceno looking to pick up their first win since June 2008.
Mallett made six changes to the team which lost 32-10 to South Africa last weekend and the new line-up responded with a determined display, building a 14-6 lead by half-time
Bergamasco kicked two penalties and Gower one for the home side, while Tebaldi sent over a drop. Bergamasco also converted the penalty try.
Samoa were unable to register a score after in the second 40 minutes and to make matters worse had Henry Fa'afili sent off for a high tackle on McLean.
Tries: McLean, Penalty
Con: Mi Bergamasco
Pen: Mi Bergamasco 2, Gower
Pen: Esau 2
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Craig Gower, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys, 4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Ignacio Rouyet, 18 Antonio Pavanelli, 19 Simone Favaro, 20 Simon Piccone, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Alberto Sgarbi.
Samoa: 15 Titi Esau, 14 Henry Fa'fili, 13 Gavin Williams, 12 Seilala Mapasua, 11 David Lemi, 10 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 9 Junior Polu, 8 Henry Tuilagi, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 George Stowers (c), 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 Justin Va'a, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Census Johnson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Williams, 17 Sakaria Taulafo, 18 Jonny Fa'amatuainu, 19 Misioka Tomoteo, 20 Semiperive Semeane, 21 Uale Mai, 22 Lucky Munipola.
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Assistant referees: James Jones (Wales), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)