Italy beat Samoa and end losing streak

Italy beat Samoa for the first time in their history 24-6 to end a 13-match losing streak on Saturday.


Not only did Italy come into this game on a poor run but on Thursday they also lost influential captain Sergio Parisse to a cruciate knee ligament injury.


And yet from the get-go they quickly established their superiority over the touring Pacific Islanders and the result never looked in doubt.


“We played well, scored 24 points but missed another 10-14 points,” said Italy coach Nick Mallett. “We lacked discipline at times and played some stupid kicks.


“With Sergio injured I said before the game it will give us a boost because everyone wanted to play this game for Sergio.


“Above all I’m happy with the win but we played better against New Zealand because they have better players.


“Sometimes it’s difficult to play teams that are not as good as you, as I believe Samoa are, because when you get used to playing against better teams, suddenly you have to get the confidence back in your ability to win.”


Italy sprung a surprise early on when Mirco Bergamasco stepped up to take their first kick at goal on seven minutes, giving the hosts a 3-0 lead.


Both Luke McLean and Craig Gower had been shakey on kicks last week against South Africa and Bergamasco’s first effort suggested Mallett might have found the solution to his problems.


Just a minute later former Australian under-21 international McLean scored his first try for Italy.


After picking up a poor clearance kick just outside the Samoa 22, he went on a mazy run, beating five men, three of which should have stopped him, to score just by the posts.


Bergamasco’s radar went askew this time, though, as he missed a fairly easy conversion but Samoa pulled back three points on 12 minutes through a Titi Esau penalty.


Bergamasco landed another penalty from in front of the posts on 21 minutes and two minutes from half-time Gower took over kicking duties to land a long-range penalty from inside the Italian half.


But Elau responded with a kick of his own in the last minute as Italy turned around at the break with a 14-6 lead.


Italy began the second half well as scrum-half Tito Tebaldi hit a sweet drop goal 10 minutes in to edge the hosts further ahead.


Italy’s hopes of securing their first win against Samoa in four attempts were helped on the hour when Henry Fa’afili was red-carded for a dreadful high tackle on McLean as Italy were attacking inside the Samoa 22.


Once again, though, Bergamasco could not take advantage, missing his second simple kick of the afternoon.


And 11 minutes from time Gower had another shot from the halfway line but that two missed the target.


The 14 men finally crumbled three minutes from time on a scrum five yards out from their line, giving away a penalty try as they turned and broke up the scrum with Italy driving towards their line.


Bergamasco landed the conversion from under the posts to set the seal on an important victory for the hosts.



Final Score Italy 24 Samoa 6


Scorers


Scorers


Italy:
Tries – Luke McLean, penalty;
Convertions – Mirco Bergamasco;
Penalties – Mirco Bergamasco 2, Craig Gower;
Drop goals – Tito Tebaldi


Samoa:
Penalties – Titi Esau 2



Referee: Christophe Berdos (FRA)


Teams (15-1):


Italy


Luke McLean; Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi; Alessandro Zanni, Mauro Bergamasco, Josh Sole; Quintin Geldenhuys, Carlo Antonio Del Fava; Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini


Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Ignacio Rouyet, Antonio Pavanello, Simone Favaro, Simon Piccone, Riccar

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