Planet Rugby

Italy scrape past Tonga

10th November 2012 15:57

Share:

Luke Mclean of Italy is tackled by Siviteni Mafi of Tonga

Close call: Luke Mclean tackled by Siviteni Mafi

Italy needed three tries courtesy of their front row to scrape past Tonga in a hard-fought Test in Brescia on Saturday.

Italy warmed up for the visit of two heavyweights in the coming weeks with an unconvincing win over a feisty Tongan side.

With the All Blacks up next for Italy in Rome next week and Australia a week later, Azzurricoach Jacques Brunel came into the first of three November internationals claiming the pressure was off the Azzurri.

Having won the last two of their three fixtures against Tonga, Italy's starting 15 contained a mix of youth and experience with Tomasso Iannone making his full debut and a number of Italy regulars not making their appearance until the second half.

Tonga, meanwhile, came to perform and did so in a dominant first half which saw the hosts pull back in front only thanks to a late Leonardo Ghiraldini try that was converted by Kris Burton.

Tonga started strongly and took a third-minute lead when Fangatapu 'Apikotoa sent a penalty between the posts, however Italy replied almost immediately when Lorenzo Cittadini pushed over for their opening try in the sixth minute.

Tonga dominated an Italian line-out just outside their own 22 but from an attempted clearance the visitors gave up possession and Cittadini bundled the ball over the line.

Looking comfortable and more confident in their passing game, Tonga forced their way into Italy's 22 several times, and were rewarded for their efforts.

'Apikotoa kicked a penalty 10 minutes into the game but Burton restored the hosts' lead when he landed a penalty three minutes later.

Tonga's big break came when Italy captain Sergio Parisse was shown a yellow card in the 23rd minute for holding up play.

'Apikotoa kicked the penalty to give them a one-point lead and although Burton restored Italy's advantage with a penalty in the 27th minute Tonga were soon back in front with their opening try.

Italy had dominated the scrum but gave up possession, allowing Sione Piukala to carry the ball deep into territory where Italy's defence had to be at their best to repel the red tide.

As Tonga pushed forward they won a penalty, but kicked out for a line-out. Eventually, the ball found its way to Alisona Taumalolo deep on the left and he burst towards the corner flag to squeeze the ball in at the corner to put Tonga 11-14 ahead.

'Apikotoa converted from a tight angle near the 22 line to add two points, but Tonga's lead did not last long.

As half-time approached the Azzurrimoved up a gear and were rewarded after a determined push which saw Leonardo Ghiraldini cross over to level the scores. Burton handed Italy a two-point lead with the boot to stop the clock at 18-16.

Italy looked more organised and enjoyed better possession in the second half, but failed to finish several promising moves and Tonga proved a menace throughout.

A Burton penalty goal took the hosts' lead to 21-16 in the 52nd minute, and on the hour mark both sides made a series of substitutions.

Martin Castrogiovanni's arrival made an almost immediate impact for Italy and the hosts extended their lead with a penalty try on 63 minutes.

Burton converted to take Italy to 28 points, but a defiant Tonga scored a try through Vainikolo after a good run on the left brought the scores to 28-23 after 'Akipotoa had converted with the boot.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Tries: Taumalolo, Vainikolo
Cons: 'Apikotoa 2
Pens: 'Apikotoa 3
Yellow cards: Parisse

For Tonga:
Tries: Cittadini, Ghiraldini, Penalty try
Cons: Burton 2
Pens: Burton 3
Yellow cards: Lokotui, Lilo

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Tommaso Iannone, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Sergio Parisse (capt), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchie, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Giovambattista Venditti.

Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Sukanaivalu Hufanga, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Viliami Helu, 10 Fangatapu 'Apikotoa, 9 Taniela Moa (capt), 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Sione Vaiomo'unga, 6 Sitiveni Mafi, 5 Tukulua Lokotui, 4 Joe Tu'ineau, 3 Halani 'Aulika, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Alisona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Ilaisa Ma'asi, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Hale T-Pole, 19 Paula Kaho, 20 Samisoni Fisilau, 21 Alipate Fatafehi, 22 Viliame Iongi, 23 Soane Tonga'uiha.

Venue: Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: Eric Gauzins (France)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411