It's a winning start for the Azzurri in the Rugby World Cup

It went the way of the predictions. Italy got the try bonus and victory. Namibia’s wait for a first Rugby World Cup win goes on. And while the African outfit buffeted so much of the Italian momentum in the first half, the Azzurri just had to be patient to make it 52-8, a seven-try performance.

Maybe we wanted more fireworks from the Italians early on. But they ended the match with a back-line of Tommaso Allan at ten, Paolo Garbisi and Paolo Odogwu in the centres, Monty Ioane and Pierre Bruno on the wings, and Ange Capuozzo at 15. A total rejig. An all-out attacking formation.

And by the time they were on, there were gaps aplenty. At one point Ioane ran almost from one side of the pitch to the other, to round a couple of front-five forwards. The win was secure and they were cutting loose. Namibia had been wrestled to a standstill.

With Wian Conradie and JC Greyling you know there will be ripsnorting competition. What Italy may not have factored in was the speed of ball movement either, and a zinger from Tiaan Swanepoel sent winger Gerswin Mouton flying towards the line for a try.

It's an Italy bonus point win

Namibia’s Le Roux Malan is tackled by Tommaso Allan and Paolo Garbisi during Italy’s win (Getty Images)

Back-line eventually cuts loose in Italy bonus point win

Italy had scored the first through Lorenzo Cannone, before an opportunistic score for Garbisi off a sloppy Namibia lineout. But they had to wait for the second half to totally pick apart Namibia. But late in the match, under the scorching sun, the Namibian defensive structure melted. There were holes galore and Manuel Zuliani and Odogwu were on hand to romp in.

The latter’s try took Italy past the 50-point mark. However frustrated they may have been in the first half, their patience and power were just far too much for Namibia in the second half. After an extra quarter of an hour in the oven in Saint-Étienne, an Italy bonus point win quickly turned into a rout.

It doesn’t get easier for Namibia, who have New Zealand next.

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