Rewrite history. Italy beat Australia, for the first time ever, after 18 defeats, against the giants of rugby.
Great victory of Italrugby in the second test match of the Autumn Nations Series 2022. At the “Franchi” stadium in Florence the Azzurri coach Crowley managed to beat Australia for 28-27, for what is the first ever success in the clashes between Italy and the Wallabies. The national team, who beat Samoa in Padua last Saturday, will return to the field in a week in Genoa to face South Africa.
The Azzurri risked the insult in extremis when, in the 81st minute, Australia found the goal with Neville: Donaldson, however, failed the transformation, thus leaving the victory to Italy. Among Crowley’s men a destination for Bruno and two for Capuozzo.
Kick-off Italy, who immediately recovers the ball by putting pressure just outside the 22 guests: Australia is foul, Allan does not let himself be begged and at minute 1 the score passes to 3 to 0. The Aussie reaction is immediate, with Penaltouche won all height of five meters, four phases close to the goal line but the Azzurra defense is impenetrable even if illegal. Lolesio is precise from an easy position, 3 to 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 coming out of little 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 to 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 to 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 winger Wright, who with a nice gesture athletic absorbs the tackle by tapping near the flag, evading Bruno’s tackle. Lolesio does not frame the attack from a very secluded position, score that passes on 17 to 8. Last 10 ‘of mutual control, Italy is less strenuous but controls without excessive thoughts the attempts of the ocher shirts, which close in attack without however increasing the loot. Teams at rest on 17 to 8.
Second half. 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 to 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 to 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 at 64 ‘he finalizes in full acceleration a fantastic maneuver of the Italian trocar, with Brex to feed him on the corridor for 25 to 15 which keeps the opponents at a safe distance. The euphoria plays a bad joke, however, on throw in touch 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 the central position the ballistics is inaccurate, but he finds it perfect shortly after, with the penalty that is worth the point 28. Last seconds of the match, Australia presses, Italy resists, but 30 ‘from the end suffers a central scrum, making a mistake in the defensive climb and giving Neville the goal in time 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.
Italy-Australia 28-27 (pt 17-8)
Markers: PT 1′ cp Allan (3-0); 5′ cp Lalosio (3-3); 18′ m. Bruno, t. Allan (10-3); 25′ m. Capuozzo, t. Allan (17-3); 31′ m. Wright, NT (17-8). ST 43′ m. McReight, t. Lalosio (17-15); 52′ cp Allan; 64′ m. Capuozzo, NT (25-15); 67′ m. Robertson, t. Lalosio (25-22); 74′ cp Padovani (28-22); 80′ m. Neville, NT (28-27).
Italia: Capuozzo; Bruno, Brex, Morisi (46 ‘Menoncello), Ioane; Allan (69 ‘Padovani), Varney; Cannone L., Lamaro (cap), Negri (57 ‘Halafihi – 69’ Sisi); Ruzza, Cannone N .; Ferrari (46 ‘Ceccarelli), Lucchesi (57’ Nicotera), Fischetti (57 ‘Nemer) and Garbisi A. All. Crowley.
Australia: Campbell (66’ Petaia); Nawaqanitawase, Ikitau, Paisami, Wright; Lolesio (75’ Donaldson), Gordon (54’ McDermott); Samu (66’ Gleeson), McReight, Hanigan; Skelton (57’ Neville), Swain; Ala’alatoa (cap – 60’ Tupou), Fainga’a (54’ Lonergan), Gibbon (60’ Robertson) All. Rennie.
Referee: Pickerill (NZRU).
Soccer players: Allan (ITA) 4/8; Lalose (AUS) 3/4; Padovani (ITA) 1/2; Petaia (AUS) 0/1 Cards: 15 ‘yellow to Gordon (AUS).
Note: PT 17-8. Warm but gray day, pitch in excellent condition, 20,321 spectators. Player of the Match: Lucchesi (ITA)