Autumn Nations Series: Italy claim first-ever win against wobbly Wallabies

Autumn Nations Series: Italy celebrate beating Australia. Credit: Alamy
Autumn Nations Series: Italy celebrate beating Australia. Credit: Alamy

Italy claimed their first-ever win over the Wallabies courtesy of a nail-biting 28-27 triumph in Florence on Saturday.

Tries from Ange Capuozzo (2) and Pierre Bruno helped the Azzurri to victory while Tommaso Allan finished with a 10-point haul, after succeeding with a couple of penalties and as many conversions, and Edoardo Padovani also slotted a three-pointer off the kicking tee.

For Australia, Tom Wright, Fraser McReight, Tom Robertson and Cadeyrn Neville scored tries while Noah Lolesio added two conversions and a penalty.

The Wallabies had the chance to clinch a last-gasp victory, when Ben Donaldson lined up a shot at goal to convert Neville’s try with the final act of the match, but his kick was off target.

The hosts were the first team on the board with an Allan penalty in the second minute before Lolesio levelled the scores with a penalty of his own only three minutes later.

The Italians built solid momentum through their structured phase play and could have gone into a three-point lead, but Allan missed a penalty attempt.

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A yellow card for Wallabies scrum-half Jake Gordon in the 16th minute, for cynically obstructing an Italian player on a kick chase, opened the door for a well-worked try from the hosts as Bruno crashed over in the corner three minutes later for a converted try.

The Azzurri made the most of their ascendency when Capuozzo went over in the 26th minute for another converted try as the hosts built a solid lead.

The Wallabies had the final say in the first half as Wright scored in the corner with an acrobatic finish. Lolesio missed the conversion from the touchline.

Australia drew first blood in the second period when McReight scored a converted try in the 44th minute as the visitors launched a comeback.

Allan then added a 53rd-minute penalty before Italy upped the tempo as Capuozzo scored his second try 12 minutes later, which was unconverted.

The Wallabies responded immediately through Robinson, who scored in the 68th minute, with Lolesio adding the extras.

A crucial Padovani penalty in the 76th minute put Italy up 28-22 before the Wallabies ensured a tense finish when Neville scored with the clock in the red.

The pressure fell onto debutant Donaldson to convert the try to win the game, but a miss meant Italy would create history with their first win against Australia.

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: Ireland muscle past Fiji in far from perfect performance

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