Sat 19 Mar 2022 | 06:21

Italy shock Wales with magical late try

Italy shock Wales with magical late try
Sat 19 Mar 2022 | 06:21
Italy shock Wales with magical late try
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SIX NATIONS REPORT: Edoardo Padovani scored a superb late try as Italy ended their seven-year wait for a Six Nations win with a dramatic 22-21 victory away to Wales on Saturday.

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In their final match of the 2022 competition, it seemed the Azzurri were about to be condemned to a 37th successive loss in the tournament as reigning champions Wales led 21-15 heading into the 79th minute thanks to Josh Adams’ converted try.

But a brilliant break-out and pass by full-back Ange Capuozzo led to a try for wing Padovani, who had the presence of mind to go under the posts to make the conversion easier for Paolo Garbisi.

And the fly-half then made no mistake with the final kick of the game to spark joyous scenes among Italy’s players and fans at the Principality Stadium as the Azzurri celebrated their first win in the Six Nations since a 22-19 success away to Scotland in 2015.

“It’s just unreal,” Italy captain Michele Lamaro told the BBC.

“I couldn’t believe it, I want to stay with my family and team-mates and celebrate with them because we deserve it and we worked so hard to get here.

“It’s the first step of our long process that we just started.”

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The flank added: “Capuozzo is the superstar of our squad right now and that last try was amazing.”

Padovani had earlier kicked two penalties and Garbisi three on a sun-drenched day in Cardiff as Italy, whose future in the Six Nations has been repeatedly called into question, celebrated their first win on Welsh soil. Defeat meant Wales ended this edition with just one win – over Scotland – from five matches.

And the reverse dulled any Welsh joy at veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones, recalled from shoulder surgery, extending his own world record for most Test caps with a 150th appearance for Wales and flyhalf Dan Biggar winning his 100th cap.

Italy took a deserved 6-0 lead through a Garbisi penalty and Padovani’s long-range effort from 48 metres out.

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Wales hit back just off the half-hour when, after wing Louis Rees-Zammit burst clear, the ball was recycled by Owen Watkin, with the centre going over for a try.

Biggar converted but Garbisi’s second penalty nudged Italy into a two-point lead.

Wales pay for indiscipline

Padovani made Wales pay for their indiscipline once more with another long-range penalty as Italy led 12-7 six minutes before half-time.

Italy, strong at the scrum and deploying an effective kicking game to counter Wales’ blitz defence, almost had a try before the break but Capuozzo knocked on after Wales’ Johnny McNicholl was unable to gather Garbisi’s high cross-under challenge from Monty Ioane.

Nevertheless, against all predictions, Italy were five points ahead at half-time.

Wales, however, regrouped at half-time and a powerful close-range maul allowed hooker Dewi Lake to level the scores in the 52nd minute with his first Test try, with Biggar’s conversion putting the hosts two points ahead.

Italy were far from finished. Capuozzo, recovering the ball in his own in-goal area and found Ioane, also behind the Italy try-line.

The wing set off on a blistering run and Wales, within a matter of seconds, conceded a penalty in front of their own posts.

Garbisi duly obliged and Italy were back in front at 15-14.

Wales dealt what seemed a cruel blow to Italy’s hopes with a third try.

Josh Navidi won a turnover on half-way, prop forward Wyn Jones charged towards the Wales 22 and the ball then came to Adams, with the wing surging past several Italy defenders for a converted score.

Wyn Jones almost added a third try but referee Andrew Brace ruled he had been held up over the line.


Man of the match: The award goes to the newcomer on the scene Ange Capuozzo. He was brave with ball in hand throughout the match and kept the Welsh defence on their toes. He also created that magical match-winning try to end a seven-year losing streak for the Italians. Special mention must also go to the rest of the Italian team for playing out of their skins.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Watkin, Lake, Adams
Cons: Biggar 3

For Italy:
Try: Padovani
Con: Garbisi
Pens: Garbisi 3, Padovani 2

Teams:

Wales: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar (captain), 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Seb Davies, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Leonardo Marin, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 David Sisi, 20 Niccolò Cannone, 21 Braam Steyn, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Marco Zanon.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

PV: 26
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