Planet Rugby

Chance goes begging for Italy

26th February 2011 13:59

Share:

Morgan Stoddart try for Wales against Italy

Wales try-scorer: Morgan Stoddart

Italy blew a massive chance to move off the bottom of the Six Nations table on Saturday as they fell 24-16 to Wales.

Ten points were missed from the tee by wing Mirco Bergamasco and replacement fly-half Luciano Orquera in a result that will hurt Italy.

Wales did not help themselves in the opening stages when, after Stephen Jones had opened the scoring, they gifted the Azzurri a try on five minutes. The Welsh were looking to adopt their expansive game right from the off and it was that that cost them when a stray pass from lock Bradley Davies was swooped upon by centre Gonzalo Canale. His chip and chase eventually saw him regather to send the Stadio Flaminio into raptures. Bergamasco missed the extras.

A response was needed in order to quieten the Italy support. And so it came as the visitors marched downfield and crossed wide on the left courtesy of Scarlets wing Morgan Stoddart, who was awarded the try after a long wait for the TMO.

The match conditions were helping the game no end and it didn't take long for the third five-pointer to arrive, which was arguably the pick of the bunch in Rome. From a breakout in midfield, full-back Lee Byrne hit a magnificent angle - similar to the one he did in Paris a few years back - and James Hook had the simple task of drawing the last man and sending over Sam Warburton. Stephen Jones sent over the simple conversion and the score was up to 15-8 to Wales on fourteen minutes.

But despite their seven-point cushion, one had the feeling that the lead was unlikely to grow dramatically. Italy were matching their visitors play by play and in fact cut the arrears ten minutes later when a backtracking Stoddart was blown for not releasing the ball.

Then came a moment that full-back Luke McLean might lose sleep over tonight as his somewhat overambitious penalty touch-finder did not make its target, with that ultimately costing the hosts six points via the boot of Jones that sent them in 21-11.

Wales' form dipped somewhat in the second period as they enjoyed little territory and/or possession. However for all the Azzurri's dominance and hunger, it was a constant lack of cutting edge that's required to win such internationals that will annoy Nick Mallett the most.

Number eight Sergio Parisse did show real strength to cross on the left wing - shrugging off pivot Jones to ground and reduce the gap to just five points - to continue the momentum.

But for all their ball and will to upset Warren Gatland's charges, it was fitting that a Hook drop-goal took the game beyond doubt. A lesson for Italy that they need to take their chances and kick their goals, but one that needs to be absorbed.

Man-of-the-match: He was a different class. Sergio Parisse.

Moment-of-the-match: Scrum-half and scrum-half, you wouldn't expect to witness such physicality. If you haven't seen it yet, try and find Mike Phillips' bump off Fabio Semenzato.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Tries: Canale, Parisse
Pen: Bergamasco 2

For Wales:
Tries: Stoddart, Warburton
Con: Jones
Pen: Jones 3
Drop: Hook

Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrea Masi, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys, 4 Santiao Dellape, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Valerio Bernabo, 19 Manoa Vosawai, 20 Pablo Canavosio, 21 Luciano Orquera, 22 Tommaso Benvenuti.

Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 James Hook, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Leigh Halfpenny.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Dave Pearson (England), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs Bayonne18:30
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00