The Italians went to the top of group B with this win over Canada.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Italy 48-7 Canada

2019 Rugby World Cup: Italy 48-7 Canada

Head-to-head

Played – 9

Italy wins – 7

Canada wins – 2

Most recent meeting – Italy 20-18 Canada (26 June 2016)

Italy scraped past Canada in a close contest that was filled with errors and mistakes. The Canadians were ahead entering the final ten minutes but Carlo Canna kicked a penalty to secure the win.

Did You Know?

  • Talismanic back-row Tyler Ardron became Canada’s youngest captain when he led them against Georgia in 2013, at the age of 22 years 146 days.

Related: Rugby World Cup Fixtures

In A Nutshell

Not a lot was expected form this match but it turned out to be immensely entertaining thanks to end to end action. The tone was set early as Italy dominated possession and had it not been for some excellent work by Canadian full-back Patrick Parfey, the Azzurri would have scored a try in the opening couple of minutes.

They still made the pressure count though as Tommaso Allan knocked over a penalty and then off the back of a scrum, Braam Steyn powered through to put the side up 10-0 just before the clock hit double digits. The pitch was being pulled apart by any change of direction but Steyn didn’t need to change direction to find the try-line as Peter Nelson was smashed out of the way.

Cut Up: The pitch took a pounding in Fukuoka (Getty Images)

Then, just five minutes later, captain Dean Budd exploited some poor defence to score another try right under the posts to put them 17-0 and unbelievably that was the score at half-time.

Canada showed remarkable resilience to comeback somewhat – they should have scored three times with the worst moment of the lot being from Matt Heaton who knocked the ball on with the try-line beckoning.

Broken Through: Budd sneaks through the Canadian defence to score (Getty Images)

Italy and their back-row in particular continued their dominant display after the second half resumed with Sebastian Negri crossing over. But again, the Canadians have to be applauded because of their total willingness to continue playing attacking rugby, and the Italians have to be applauded because of their outstanding defence which produced several try-saving tackles.

Italy ensured the bonus point in the 58th minute thanks to a penalty try after a rolling maul was collapsed by Heaton whose afternoon went from bad to worse as he was sin-binned.

The Canadians kept going and thought they had scored a try through Tyler Ardron, however the Television Match Official and Nigel Owens checked it and they believed a knock-on had occurred before the touching down. If a moment summed up the Canadians evening, it was that one.

At last their attacking play yielded results on the 70th minute as Peter Nelson eclipsed the Italian defence and set up Andrew Coe to score in the corner.

Long Last: Coe got Canada on the board with a try late in the second-half (Getty Images)

The final tries of the match were scored by Italy as substitute Federico Zani scored from a rolling maul to get the Italians over the 40-point mark, and then Matteo Minozzi scored after a sublime Italian move that started in their own-22.

Star Man

The Canadians simply couldn’t deal with Jake Polledri at all. He bounced off tackles regularly and played a key role in several Italian tries which meant he understandably got awarded Player of the Match. In fact the entire back-row of Italy, Sebastian Negri and Braam Steyn, were also excellent.

Related: Rugby World Cup TV Coverage

The Reaction

Italy coach Conor O’Shea said;

“You have to be pretty happy. We started the game really well and that’s where we imposed ourselves. We fell away a bit, but then we drove home the physical dominance we had.

“I was glad we were able to put on a show. These crowds are incredible here.

“I promised the guys a bit of an old-school night out. It was a four-day turnaround, and that’s tough for any team, mentally as well as physically. The whole squad has reacted brilliantly. We’re looking forward to tonight and then we’ll start looking ahead to the next challenge.”

Canada coach Kingsley Jones said;

“The players applied themselves really well. We created a lot of opportunities, which is obviously a positive, but we just didn’t finish them. We gave too many penalties away and allowed Italy into areas we didn’t want.

“They are a very good side and they punished us. But I’m pleased with the players. We created a lot and they gave everything. There is big work for us to do, but it was tough opposition.”

The Teams

Italy: Matteo Minozzi, Tommaso Benvenuti (Mattia Bellini 40), Michele Campagnaro, Jayden Hayward, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Allan (Carlo Canna 62), Callum Braley (Guglielmo Palazzani 71), Andrea Lovotti (Nicola Quaglio 46), Luca Bigi (Federico Zani 59), Simone Ferrari (Marco Riccioni 46), David Sisi (Federico Ruzza 54), Dean Budd (capt.), Sebastian Negri, Jake Polledri, Braam Steyn (Maxime Mbandà 68)

Tries: Steyn 8, Budd 13, Negri 43, Penalty try 58, Bellini 61, Zani 72, Minozzi 79   Con: Allan 4, Canna Pen: Allan

Canada: Patrick Parfey, Jeff Hassler (Andrew Coe 62), Ben Lesage, Nick Blevins (Ciaran Hearn 9), DTH Van Der Merwe, Peter Nelson, Gordon McRorie (Jamie Mackenzie 66), Huburt Buydens (Djustice Sears-Duru 35), Eric Howard (Jake Illnicki 57), Matt Tierney (Benoit Piffero 50), Conor Keys, Josh Larsen, Michael Sheppard (Luke Campbell 75), Lucas Rumball (Matt Heaton 15), Tyler Ardron

Tries: Coe 70 Con: Nelson

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