Azzurri make light work of USA

Italy got their first win of the 2017 World Cup after being defeated by Ireland last week.

The Hawks, who were predictably hammered by Fiji last week, have now conceded over 100 points in two games.

The Azzurri sprung a bit of a surprise with star fullback James Tedesco named in the halves, and Shannon Wakeman named on the bench despite a problem between them during midweek.

Brian McDermott’s side got first use of the football and seemed to make good yardage with the first set of the game, then a good tackle by Pettybourne forced the Italians to cough up possession in their first set.

The Hawks continued their bright start as another solid set was finished with a tidy kick into touch near the Italian line.

However Italy were much better with their next set penetrating deep into USA territory, but a kick from Tedesco was easily gobbled up by the lone defender.

A mistake from Italy forced a scrum for the Hawks 10 metre’s from the Italian line, after fearless defending by Bureta Faraimo on Italian winger Josh Mantellato set up the position.

However the Yanks attack was soon turned into defence after an intercept close to the try-line.

From the resulting attack Italy got over the American line, referee Ashley Klein handed the decision to video referee, who duly overturned the on pitch No Try decision to award the try to Joe Tramontana, converted by Josh Mantellato.

Another mistake from Italy, by Cerruto at the PTB after a good kick return, gave America territory and possession, but Farley dropped the ball with open ground in front of him.

An incisive break from Mark Minichiello saw the Azzurri flooding forward, then a penalty was used to add more pressure, and Tedesco profited to grab a simple try from close to the line, Mantellato was on target with the kick again.

USA were presented with another chance as Ghietti knocked the restart dead to force a goal line drop out, but Burroughs knocked on to hand them a reprieve from more pressure.

Some more silky handling from Italy saw Minichiello produce a miracle pass despite the attentions of two defenders, to put Mantellato in at the corner, the big wingman was just off target with the conversion.

An offside penalty gave Italy another chance to set-up camp in the USA half, and some neat inter-passing involving Ghietti, Minichiello and Mantellato finished with the half back crossing the whitewash for a converted try.

Some frantic defending from Italy forced another dropped ball from the Azzuri, but the chance was wasted by the Hawks as Makelim was harshly adjudged to have knocked-on in the act of diving over the line.

A kick out on the full by Ghietti gave the USA another chance to set-up position in the Italian half, but Marando was forced into touch on the last tackle without much threat to the try-line.

A thrilling double chip and chase by Makelim promised much for the Hawks, but a knock down by Mantellato was ignored by the referee, and the Azzurri went straight up the other end and Tramontana scored his 2nd try under the posts, Mantellato inevitably added the conversion.

Half Time: Italy Azzurri 28 USA Hawks 0

Early metre’s from Italy in the 2nd half saw them force a goal line drop out as Burroughs was tackled behind the Hawks line.

From the resulting pressure, the Americans made a mistake on the last tackle, and the ball was moved swiftly right for Tedesco to score his 2nd try, Mantellato was again on target with the conversion.

Both sides traded knock-on’s with the second giving USA scrum feed in the Italian half, this was backed up with a penalty for offside ten metre’s from the Italian line.

But again the opportunity was wasted as Christian Freed dropped the ball with nobody near him after a stop for an injury to Matt Shipway.

A dropped ball by America was scooped up by Tedesco who raced 80 metre’s before finally being caught by spirited Hawks defenders, from the position that break set-up the ball eventually went left but the ball was dropped by Minichiello.

A penalty against Tramontana saw the Hawks given their fifth penalty in a row, setting them up near Italian territory.

Another penalty for the Hawks took them deep into enemy territory, but solid defence kept them out and allowed Italy to clear their line again.

More excellent defending saw Italy stop the Hawks short of their line to gain a handover, and some impressive intricate passing, saw Paul Vaughan cross under the posts, Mantellato again added the extras.

Another goal line drop out after Makelim was forced behind his own line gave Italy another chance to attack.

From the pressure caused by that, the Americans produced some determined defending to keep the Italians out.

The impressive Makelim kept asking questions of the Italian defence, and another chip and chase from the fullback saw his go desperately close, until he knocked the ball on near the line under pressure from Cerruto.

Another break from the Americans, backed up by Makelim, saw Tedesco lose the ball giving them another ten metre scrum, but more excellent defending saw the Italian line remain in-tact.

A brave effort from the Hawks saw the ball knocked forward, from which Cerruto scooped up the ball, and raced 70 metre’s to score the Italians eighth try under the posts for a converted try with seven minutes left to play.

Italy pressed again after the Hawks knocked-on into touch near their own line, looking for the half century score, but spirited defence kept them out, before a forward pass relieved the pressure.


Italy: M. Cerruto, C. Centrone, J. Castellaro, N Milone, J Mantellato, J Tedesco, R Ghietti, P. Vaughan, J. Tramontana, D Alvaro, J. Walker, M. Minichiello, N. Brown: Interchange: J Riethmuller, B Santi, S. Wakeman, C. Calegari

USA: C. Makelim, R. Burroughs, J. Vaivai, J. Rice, B. Faraimo, K. Freed, T. Samoa, E Pettybourne, D. Marando, M. Offerdahl, D. Howard, M. Shipway, G. Farley: Interchange: S Tochterman, F. Malu, C. Cortalano, D. Ulch


Italy: Tries: Tramontana (8, 37) Tedesco (14, 43) Mantellato (19) Ghietti (24) Vaughan (59) Cerruto (73) Goals: Mantellato 7/8

USA: Tries:  Goals:

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