Italrugby’s feat at the ‘Franchi’ stadium in Florence. Three Italian destinations, two of Capuozzo and one of Bruno
Company ofItalrugby beating Australia for the first time in its history, after 20 knockouts in a row. At the ‘Franchi’ stadium in Florence the Azzurri beat the ‘Aussie’ for 28-27 in the second match of the Autumn Nations Series. After the rampant victory in Padua against Samoa, the Azzurri do even better and defeat for the first time the Wallabies, seventh national in the world ranking. Three Italian destinations, two of Capuozzo and one of Bruno. Australia had on Donaldson’s foot the transformation that would have given him victory in the 81st minute, but he kicked out. At that point the blue party started, precisely in that Florence which in 2016 had given another historic first time, against South Africa. Precisely against the Springbocks, the Azzurri will close the triptych of the Autumn Nations Series on Saturday 19 (2 pm), always live on Sky Sport and streaming on Now.
THE ITALRUGBY ENTERPRISE – Mental solidity, defensive clarity, cynicism in attack: Italy doubles the great success with Samoa last week by winning for the first time in history against Australia at the end of a heart-pounding match, with the guests suffering clearly for large phases of the game but able to take advantage of the 4 missed kicks by the Azzurri to stay hooked to the match until the last minute, when the transformation after Neville’s goal with time expired would have unjustly shattered the dream of the more than 20,000 spectators of the Franchi di Firenze.
Kick-off Italy, who immediately recovers the ball by putting pressure just outside the 22 guests: Australia is foul, Allan does not beg and at minute 1 the score passes to 3-0. The Aussie reaction is immediate, with a penaltouche won at the height of five meters, four phases close to the goal line but the Azzurra defense is impenetrable even if illegal. Lolesio is accurate from an easy position, 3-3. Crowley’s XV is courageous, who returns to manage by advancing a very solid possession, finding a new penalty in favor on the 22 line: Allan is not flawless this time, ball that comes out just on the right and score that remains unchanged. The Wallabies try to raise the pace, but the Italian work on the breakdown is excellent: in the 15 ‘Ioane blaze, who catches the ball on the fly triggering on the narrow Allan who is tackled late by Gordon, punished with a yellow card.
The blue pressing is suffocating in the Australian half, and at 19 ‘produces the shock that was needed: ball won in a lineout, controlled drive, action moved on the closed side for Bruno who sprints on a handkerchief finding the winning touch. Allan this time does not allow himself to be distracted, 10-3. The Kangaroos are not there and force one-on-one, but the Italian wall has no cracks and forces opponents to make imprecise choices. The blue fire burns stronger as the minutes pass, annihilating any Australian attempt with enormous work on collision points and offshore developments; at 25 ‘it’s party again, with Capuozzo pretending and flying to goal after a splendid combination on the right side of the fast line. Allan is there, Italy ahead 17-3.
Rennie’s XV tries not to lose ground, takes advantage of a couple of inaccuracies in the Italian passing lines and in the half hour finds the goal with the Wright winger, who with a nice athletic gesture absorbs the tackle by touching near the flag, evading the tackle by Bruno. Lolesio does not frame the attack from a very secluded position, score that passes on 17-8. Last 10 ‘of mutual control, Italy is less aggressive but controls the attempts of the ocher shirts without excessive thoughts, which close in attack without increasing the spoils. Teams at rest on 17-8.
Upon returning, the Australian entry was immediately strong, grinding meters ball in hand finding a foul and a scrum in favor in front of the posts. Progress is ferocious on developments, Italy closes a couple of doors but not the third, McReight slips in and Australia returns below 17-15 after Lolesio’s conversion. Menoncello and Ceccarelli enter for Morisi and Ferrari, Italy returns to the attack and immediately finds a foul in favor of Brex penetration, Allan calls the goalposts but the attempt comes out centimeters wide on the left. Two minutes pass and on a new favorable penalty this time the foot is good: Italy ahead 20-15.
At 54 ‘touch-off in Australia attack on the Italian five meters, the launch is soiled by the second Italians and the action fades, with a poisonous blue counterattack by Lucchesi who, however, does not find the desired closure in the Brex-Bruno combination. The match slows down the pace, with Capuozzo turning on the stands of the Franchi around 60 ‘, going on the run but without finding the right gap but keeping the team constantly in attack. The Italian-French elf is however “on fire”, and in the 64th minute he finalizes in full acceleration a fantastic maneuver of the Italian trocar, with Brex to feed him on the corridor for the 25-15 that keeps the opponents at a safe distance.
The euphoria plays a bad joke, however, on a touche throw Varney badly controls Ruzza’s support, triggering the brutal reaction of the Wallabies, who charge with two forwards finding Robertson’s goal, then transformed by Lalosio, 25-22. Halafihi and Allan come out, the newly entered Padovani has the +6 penalty on his feet but from a central position the ballistics is inaccurate, but finding it perfect shortly after, with the penalty that is worth point 28.
Last seconds of the match, Australia presses, Italy resists, but with 30 “from the end they suffer a central scrum, making the defensive climb wrong and giving Neville the goal with the time expired that risks destroying the dream of the first Italian victory. With the stadium silenced Petaia goes to transform, but the ball is wide on the right: Italy 28, Australia 27, let the party begin.