Rugby World Cup 2019
Italy 48-7 Canada
Italy did exactly what was required against Canada by running in seven tries at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, winning 48-7 to register the biggest margin of victory to date at Rugby World Cup 2019.
Italy also scored seven tries in their first match, against Namibia, and sit top of Pool B with maximum points as they prepare for a much sterner test in their third game, against South Africa on Friday 4 October.
Tries from number eight Braam Steyn and captain-for-the-day Dean Budd put them on target by half-time and a Sebastian Negri score and penalty try ensured they completed the job before the hour.
Mattia Bellini, Federico Zani and Matteo Minozzi then added a flourish, while Andrew Cole gave Canada fans something to cheer with a breakaway try in the corner.
Italy did not wait to start spreading the ball wide, and scrum-half Callum Braley had an early try ruled out after Canada full-back Patrick Parfrey beat him to the ball in the in-goal area.
Soon after, fly-half Tommaso Allan kicked the first points of the match, and Steyn then scored the first try when he picked up from the back of the scrum and sent Canada fly-half Patrick Nelson flying on his way to the line.
Italy’s dominance continued and Budd raced through a gap, but when Canada broke Italian lines they were less clinical and reserve Matt Heaton knocked forward with the line beckoning. It summed up their profligacy in the early stages that also featured missed tackles, a failure to protect the ball and an inability to capitalise when chances came their way.
Full-back Minozzi stopped winger DTH Van Der Merwe after he broke free and while Italy ended the half camped on the Canada line they were unable to add a third try.
Italy began the second half as they had the first and Negri scored his first international try after fellow flanker Jake Polledri, the Player of the Match, had fed him the ball close to the line.
Minozzi then stopped Canada’s other wing Jeff Hassler, but was unable to finish off a break alongside Jayden Hayward when Italy hit Canada on the counter-attack.
Conor O’Shea’s side secured the winning bonus point with a penalty try after Heaton collapsed a driving maul, and winger Mattia Bellini scored his second in two matches to put the result further out of reach.
Cole showed his pace to finish off a counter-attack, but Italy had the final word when the pack drove Zani over for his first international try in his 12th appearance and Minozzi finished off an end-to-end move.
“We started the game very well,” said O’Shea. “I’m glad we were able to put on a bit of a show.”