Italy Tops Pool B After Beating Canada

Italy defeated Canada 48-7 after leading 17-0 at the break at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka City on 26 September. It was Canada’s opening match for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

In other Pool B matches, Italy defeated Namibia 47-22 on 22 September, while New Zealand won 23-13 against South Africa.

Italy tops the Pool B standings and will need to beat South Africa if they want to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals. In a worst-case scenario for them, they lose to both New Zealand and South Africa and finish third in Pool play and qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. South Africa will defeat Italy, Canada, and Namibia to advance to the Quarterfinals.

Next for Italy is a critical match against South Africa on Friday 4 October. Canada will face the All Blacks on 2 October.

Match Recap

Italy opened the match with Callum Braley being held up in-goal. The Azzurri then went through phases before a Canada penalty led to a penalty goal by Tommaso Allan.

Following a lineout turnover by Canada after the ball was not straight, Italy added a Braam Steyn try from the breakdown with Tommaso Allan slotting the extras to lead 10–0 in the 8th minute.

After a strong run by Jake Polledri, Callum Braley fed lock Dean Budd for the try with Allan again converting to push the lead to 17-0 after 13 minutes. Tackling issues have plagued Canada early in the match.

Canada had a sustained attack after securing a chip and chase. Captain Tyler Ardron found a gap and offloaded to Matt Heaton, losing the ball forward before what would have been a try. This resulted in a scrum to Italy and after an infraction, the Azzurri cleared.

Canada stepped up their performance and had strong run by DTH Van Der Merwe before Ciaran Hearn lost the ball forward. From the ensuing scrum, fullback Matteo Minozzi had a break, however, Jeff Hassler poached the ball at the breakdown leading to another Canadian attack. Both Hearn and Hassler had strong runs before Canada handling errors stopped the attack after several phases.

DTH Van Der Merwe started another attack and offloaded to Parfrey and then back before a McRorie offload went into Italian hands.

An Italian attack from a lineout 5-meters from the line was knocked on by Canada No.8 Tyler Ardron. This resulted in a scrum to Italy. Canada’s Mike Sheppard created the turnover with Eric Howard gathering the ball before McRorie kicked into touch to go into the break.

After tackling miscues to open the match, Canada settled down and had their opportunities to attack. Handling errors plagued the team, stopped numerous attacks, and cost them a try. The team’s defense improved in a very competitive second quarter.

Second Half

Italy began the second half just like the first, with Sebastian Negri crashing over the line from close range to score and Allan slotting again to lead 24-0.

After a Canada scrum at midfield, the team attacked right with DTH Van Der Merwe finding a gap and as Jeff Hassler was tackled by fullback Matteo Minozzi, he executed a pop pass that went off Van Der Merwe’s hands as he was entering in-goal.

After Dean Budd was held up in-goal by Van Der Merwe, the TMO showed Matt Heaton collapsing the maul. This resulted in a penalty try for a 31-0 lead with Heaton sent to the bin.

Soon after, Italy added a fifth try by Mattia Bellini after Jake Polledri drew in defenders before the offload to lead 36-0.

Canada’s Tyler Ardron appeared to score the team’s first try, but after viewing TMO,  Nigel Owens ruled that a contested ball went off Hearn’s forearm. This resulted in a scrum to Italy.

Italy advanced the ball deep into Canadian territory, but a scrum infraction allowed Canada to clear. After a show and go by Peter Nelson, he offloaded to Andrew Coe for a try in the right corner in the 70th minute. Nelson then slotted the conversion to cut the lead to 36-7.

During the final ten minutes, the Azzurri added two more tries. Replacement hooker Federico Zani scored the first on a crash ball from a maul with Carlo Canna converting. The final try was by fullback Matteo Minozzi after a long break for a final of 48-7.

Jake Polledri was named Player of the Match.

Squads & Match Preview

Italy: 1 Andrea Lovotti 2 Luca Bigi 3 Simone Ferrari 4 David Sisi 5 Dean Budd (C) 6 Sebastian Negri 7 Jake Polledri 8 Braam Steyn 9 Callum Braley 10 Tommaso Allan 11 Giulio Bisegni 12 Jayden Hayward 13 Michele Campagaro14 Tomasso Benvenuti 15 Matteo Minozzi 16 Federico Zani 17 Nicol Quaglio 18 Marco Riccioni 19 Federico Ruzza 20 Maxime Mbanda 21 Guglielmo Palazzani 22 Carlo Canna 23 Mattia Bellini

Canada: 1. Hubert Buydens 2. Eric Howard 3. Matt Tierney 4. Conor Keys 5. Josh Larsen 6. Michael Sheppard 7. Lucas Rumball 8. Tyler Ardron (capt.) 9. Gordon McRorie 10. Peter Nelson 11. DTH Van Der Merwe 12. Nick Blevins 13. Ben Lesage 14. Jeff Hassler 15. Patrick Parfrey 16. Benoit Piffero 17. Djustice Duru-Sears 18. Jake Ilnicki 19. Luke Campbell 20. Matt Heaton21. Jamie Mackenzie 22. Ciaran Hearn 23. Andrew Coe

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