Italy Finishes Strong to Beat Japan & Move to 9th Place Final at #WRWC2017

August 22, 2017

Italy Finishes Strong to Beat Japan & Move to 9th Place Final at #WRWC2017

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Photo: INPHO/James Crombie (Japan winger Honoka Tsutsumi is tackled by Michela Sillari)

Doug Coil

Italy beat Japan 15-0 in the 9th Place Semi-finals at Queen’s University in Belfast. They will play the winner of the Spain – Hong Kong match in the final on Saturday, August 26.

During the first half, Japan had the majority of possession, but handling errors by both sides thwarted attacks.

At the 32nd minute Japan elected to attempt a penalty kick by Mayu Shimizu, but the kick was wide. In the 39th minute, Italy used a penalty by Japan to attack from a lineout and after several picks and goes, Melissa Bettoni went over for a try. Michela Sillari conversion then hit the posts so Italy had a 5-0 lead at the break.

Italy added a try in the 47th minute, as they swung the ball wide with a skip pass by Manuela Furlan to Michela Sillari, who ran in for the try from the far channel for a 10-0 lead.

Japan gathered the restart and attacked with multiple picks and goes, but were held up in-goal. Japan controlled the possession for several minutes and again came within 5 meters of the line, but a penalty for leaving their feet in the breakdown allowed Italy to clear.

Italy used excellent ball handling as Sofia Stefan attacked the far left channel and a Maria Grazia Cioffi offload bounced off the head of a Japan player and Michela Sillari grounded the ball for a try and a 15-0 lead.

Italy attacked again as Sillari broke from the far channel and offloaded inside to Furlan to Paola Zangirolami who went into contact within the 22 meters of Japan. Italy then advanced to within 10 meters of the line, but lost the ball forward. Japan then cleared and Italy went on the attack again from their territory.

Italy placed Japan under pressure for several minutes in the red zone from the 70th minute, but a knock on by Bettoni as she went in-goal, gave the ball to Japan.

Italy added a fourth try as Sofia Stefan ran in a try from midfield and Sillari converted for a 22-0 victory over Japan.

The match had Japan controlling the first half and Italy controlling the second. Italy gained their first win of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 with Melissa Bettoni being named the Player of the Match.

Italy v Japan: 1 Elia Cucchiella 2 Melissa Bettoni 3 Lucia Gai 4 Flavia Severin 5 Alice Trevisan 6 Ilaria Arrighetti 7 Isabella Locatelli 8 Elisa Giordano 9 Sara Barattin (C) 10 Veronica Schiavon 11 Michela Sillari 12 Beatrice Rigoni 13 Maria Grazia Cioffi 14 Sofia Stefan 15 Manuela Furlan 16 Michela Este 17 Gaia Giacomoli 18 Sara Tounesi 19 Valentina Ruzza 20 Valeria Fedrighi 21 Silvia Gaudino 22 Paola Zangirolami 23 Veronica Madia

Japan v Italy: 1 Makoto Ebuchi 2 Seina Saito (C) 3 Saki Minami 4 Aya Nakajima 5 Ayano Sakurai 6 Yuki Sue 7 Ayaka Suzuki 8 Maki Takano 9 Moe Tsukui 10 Minori Yamamoto 11 Honoka Tsutsumi 12 Ayaka Suzuki 13 Iroha Nagata 14 Riho Kurogi 15 Mayu Shimizu 16 Misaki Suzuki 17 Chihiro Kobayashi 18 Mizuho Kataoka 19 Ai Hyygaji 20 Yui Shiozaki 20 Yui Shiozaki 21 Yumeno Noda 22 23 Ai Tasaka

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