Italy's second-half surge too much for gutsy Uruguay
MATCH REPORT: Italy had to produce a strong second-half performance to see off a gutsy Uruguayan side 38-17 in their World Cup Pool A clash in Nice on Wednesday.
Uruguay, who pushed hosts France all the way in their first game, dominated the first half and they found themselves heading into the break 17-7 ahead.
However, four second-half tries from Italy took the game away from the South Americans.
Uruguay had an early penalty to go in front but flyhalf Felipe Etcheverry pushed the ball agonisingly wide with his kick.
After that, the Italians applied the pressure at scrum time and after numerous penalties inside Uruguay’s 22 and they were eventually rewarded when wing Lorenzo Pani stormed onto a ball from a set-piece before bulldozing his way over the tryline. After a bit of deliberation with the TMO, referee Angus Gardner eventually awarded the try.
Tommaso Allan made it a seven-point lead with the conversion.
Etcheverry had another chance to put his team on the board in the 22nd minute with a penalty, but he pushed his kick wide once again.
After sustained pressure in the Italian 22, Uruguay were rewarded when Italy lock Niccolo Cannone was yellow carded for some cynical play on the ground.
Italy suffered a further blow a minute later when Danilo Fischetti received a yellow card for collapsing a maul which gave Uruguay a penalty try.
Uruguay eventually made their big numerical advantage count in the 37th minute with Nicolas Freitas diving over in the corner for a try after a truckload of phases in Italy’s 22.
Etcheverry nailed a fantastic conversion to give his team a seven-point lead.
The Uruguayan flyhalf then struck a fantastic drop goal to push that lead out to 10 points just before half-time.
The South Americans suffered an early setback in the second half when their captain Andres Vilaseca saw yellow for a high tackle.
With Italy in the ascendency, cracks began to appear in Uruguay’s defence and it was captain Michele Lamaro who stormed over for his team’s second try.
Allan made it a three-point ball game with his conversion.
The Italians eventually regained the lead in the 52nd minute with wing Monty Ioane slicing against the grain to burst through Uruguay’s defence in the 22 and score his team’s third try.
Allan was successful with the conversion again.
More pain was to come for the Uruguayans after that with Italy finding plenty of space on the field. After wave after wave of Italian attack, No.8 Lorenzo Cannone powered his way over the tryline with Allan adding the extra two points.
The Italians’ fifth try came a few minutes later when centre Juan Ignacio Brex was put into space from a few metres out to run in for the score.
Allan made it an 18-point lead with his conversion.
Paolo Garbisi rubbed some salt in Uruguay’s wounds with a penalty in the 70th minute and there were no more points added to the scoreboard after that.
Man of the match: The award goes to Italy captain Michele Lamaro who was a powerhouse with ball in hand in the second half and scored one of his team’s five tries.
Tries: Pani, Lamaro, Ioane, Cannone, Brex
Cons: Allan 5
Pen: P Garbisi
Tries: Penalty Try, Freitas
Yellow cards: Niccolo Cannone (Italy, 26′ – cynical play, playing the ball on the ground); Andres Vilaseca (Uruguay, 43′ – foul play, Uruguay)
Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Lorenzo Pani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Paolo Garbisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Giovanni Pettinelli, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
Uruguay: 15 Baltazar Amaya, 14 Gaston Mieres, 13 Tomas Inciarte, 12 Andres Vilaseca (captain), 11 Nicolas Freitas, 10 Felipe Etcheverry, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Manuel Diana, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Manuel Ardao, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Felipe Aliaga, 3 Ignacio Peculo, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Replacements: 16 Guillermo Pujadas, 17 Facundo Gattas, 18 Diego Arbelo, 19 Ignacio Dotti, 20 Carlos Deus, 21 Agustin Ormaechea, 22 Felipe Berchesi, 23 Bautista Basso.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)