Planet Rugby

Pacific Islands end on a high

22nd November 2008 17:09

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Vilimoni Delasau for the heavens

Two-try hero: Vilimoni Delasau

The Pacific Islanders claimed the first Test victory of their four-year existence with a 25-17 success over Italy in Reggio Emilia.

Vilimoni Delasau scored two tries in the first half to set the platform for the visitors' success.

The Fijian winger dived over in the corner in the third minute at the end of a turnover-rich opening exchange and added a second from close range after a series of rucks close to the half hour.

Kameli Ratuvou also touched down and fly-half Seremaia Bai kicked 10 points for the combined Tonga, Fiji and Samoa side, who had lost their previous eight Tests.

Italy mustered tries of their own from forwards Leonardo Ghiraldini and Mauro Bergamasco, supplemented by seven points from fly-half Andrea Marcato's boot.

The Azzurri responded swiftly to Delasau's opening try with Marcato kicking a penalty and slotting a conversion after Ghiraldini barged over the whitewash in the 13th minute.

But the Pacific Islanders soon regained the lead with a Bai penalty and Delasau's second try, which came despite Bai having been sent to the sin bin minutes earlier for a late and high tackle on Mirco Bergamasco.

And the visitors extended their advantage to 22-10 when full-back Ratuvou broke through a gap and went all the way to the line from close to half-way line.

After Bai extended the Islanders' lead with a penalty at the start of second period, Italy started to control of possession but they were frequently let down by the last touch.

They gained their reward for a sustained period of pressure in the 65th minute when flanker Bergamasco went over after captain Sergio Parisse's clever flick pass behind his back.

The result of Italy's first match in the northern city of Reggio Emilio leaves them without a win from the November Test programme, having lost 22-14 to Argentina and 30-20 to Australia.

The scorers:

For Italy:

Tries: Ghiraldini, Bergamasco

Cons: Marcato 2

Pen: Marcato

For the Pacific Islands:

Tries: Delasau 2, Ratuvou

Cons: Bai 2

Pens: Bai 2

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Matteo Pratichetti, 10 Andrea Marcato, 9 Pietro Travagli, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Tommaso Reato, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Matias Aguero.

Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20 Pablo Canavosio/Giulio Toniolatti, 21 Luke McLean, 22 Riccardo Pavan

Pacific Islands: 15: Kameli Ratuvou, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Epi Taione, 11 Vilimoni Delasau, 10 Seremaia Bai, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Nili Latu (Tonga, captain), 6 Viliami Vaki, 5 Paino Hehe, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 Kisi Pulu, 2 Tanielu Fuga, 1 Justin Va'a.

Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Tonga Lea'aetoa, 18 Semisi Naevo, 19 Hale T-Pole, 20 Mosese Rauluni, 21 Seru Rabeni, 22 Gavin Williams.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Christophe Berdos, Hugh Watkins (Wales)

TMO: Geoff Warren (England)

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