Two tries apiece for Tommaso Benvenuti and Giulio Toniolatti plus a towering performance from Sergio Parisse saw Italy notch a resounding 53-17 win over Russia on Tuesday.
The Azzurri secured a bonus point after just 23 minutes, finishing with nine tries in total, as Russia were overcome by slick passing and uncompromising forward play.
Russia stuck to their task to finish with three tries at Trafalgar Park, with second-half scores from Vladimir Ostroushko and Alexey Makovetskiy complementing Alexander Yanyushkin’s first-half score.
Benvenuti completed his brace eight minutes into the second half, touching down his own chip ahead.
Luke McLean took advantage of a marking mismatch, going past Alexander Voytov in the 64th minute then racing away for a try, and Alessandro Zanni’s score brought up the half-century on 77 minutes.
The score could have been greater but Italian kickers Riccardo Bocchino and Benvenuti missed five conversion attempts between them.
Captain Parisse had a hand in four of his side’s six first-half tries as they raced to a 38-7 lead at the interval.
The number 8 opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he sold a neat dummy then cut through the line, and his deft touch was instrumental in wing Toniolatti’s 14th-minute try.
Centre Benvenuti profited from a Russian defensive mix-up to plunge over, then Parisse dummied to set up Toniolatti’s second and bring up the bonus point.
A strong scrummage forced Russia to concede a penalty try, before The Bears finally got on the scoresheet with Italy reduced to 14 men after Fabio Ongaro was sin-binned for an illegal tackle.
Yanyushkin’s score was converted by Konstantin Rachkov but Italy scrum half Edoardo Gori hit back almost immediately.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.