Azzurri bounce back
Kris Burton kicked 20 points, rallying Italy in the second half for a 25-16 victory over Canada.
Kris Burton kicked 20 points, rallying Italy in the second half for a 25-16 victory over Canada in an international friendly at Toronto's BMO field.
The win follows the Azzurri's 22-37 loss to Argentina in San Juan last week.
The Italian flyhalf, Burton, kicked six penalty goals and converted Tommaso D'Apice's try in the 50th minute off a driving maul to give the European side the victory in front of a crowd of 12,220.
"It was a good win," Italian coach Jacques Brunel said.
"Canada is a tough team and they showed the strong spirit they had at the World Cup. We knew it would be a difficult game so we are happy with the result."
Italy, ranked 12th in the world, and 13th-ranked Canada both used the match to showcase young talent, players hoping to catch the eye of Brunel and Canadian coach Kieran Crowley.
The Canadians, who edged the visiting United States 28-25 last week, had 11 points from fullback James Pritchard, who kicked three penalty goals and converted winger Conor Trainor's first-half try.
"We played into their hands by having one off runners a lot of times. That got them into the game," Crowley said. "It was pretty disappointing from our perspective. We didn't execute what we went out to do."
Trainor scooped up a loose ball lost by Italian scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi and scored the lone try of the first half under the posts to put Canada ahead 13-6 on the way to a 13-9 half-time edge.
After a Burton penalty kick pulled Italy within a point, the Six Nations side took the lead for good on D'Apice's try and a Burton conversion for a 19-13 advantage.
Pritchard pulled Canada closer with a penalty kick after an Italian obstruction call but Burton added two more penalty goals, the last with less than eight minutes remaining, and Canada could not answer again.
The Canadians will entertain Georgia on June 23, the same day the Italians will visit the United States.
Pens: Pritchard 3
Pens: Burton 6
Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Conor Trainor, 13 DTH Van der Merwe, 12 Mike Scholz, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Matt Evans, 9 Sean White, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Tyler Hotson, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Mike Pletch, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tiedemann, 17 Tom Dolezel, 18 Jon Phelan, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Edward Fairhurst, 21 Liam Underwood, 22 Ciaran Hearn.
Italy: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Tommaso Benvenuti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Antonio Pavanello, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Lorenzo Romano, 18 Marco Fuser, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Edoardo Gori, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.
Referee: David Pearson (England)