Italy pull off impressive victory over Georgia

Italy secured their first November Test victory of the season with a comfortable 28-17 victory over Georgia in Florence.

Italy secured their first November Test victory of the season with a comfortable 28-17 victory over Georgia in Florence.

Fly-half Tommaso Allan capped off a fine performance by running in Italy’s fourth try of the match to bounce back from the defeat to Ireland in style on home soil.

Yellow cards for both sides turned the game on its head with players sinbinned either side of half-time, but Italy coped best with their man disadvantage to maintain their unbeaten streak against the Georgians.

In only the third meeting between the two nations, Allan handed the Italian’s the lead inside 10 minutes with a well-directed penalty that flew between the sticks as the Azzurri made good on their early territorial dominance.

The lead didn’t last long though as Georgia immediately hit back as Tamaz Mtchedlidze weaved his way through the Italian defence to score to the right of the posts. Soso Matiashvili kicked for two.

However, only four minutes later centre Michele Campagnaro powered through a narrow gap to touch down. Allan dutifully slotted the conversion with ease to go 10-7 ahead.

The game hinged on a moment of indecision from Georgia’s Giorgi Tsutskiridze who contested a high ball with Luca Sperandio.

The tackle was deemed rash by referee Glen Jackson, who brandished a yellow card, and Italy took instant advantage as they began hammering away at the Georgia backs.

Five minutes before the break the Blues opened a six point advantage as Allan opted to go for goal for his second penalty of the afternoon after the Georgian’s failed to roll away from the tackle.

Milton Haig’s side hardly had time to get their breath back when Mattia Bellini took full advantage of the man advantage to slide into the left corner and gift Italy a comfortable 18-7 lead at the break.

Italy remained on the front foot after the restart and within three minutes their physical prowess made the difference as Dean Budd couldn’t be stopped from driving over the whitewash for their third try.

Matiashvili reduced the deficit with his first penalty of the match, but that only served as inspiration for the Italians and Allan upped the gears.

The Benetton fly-half received the ball forty metres out and raced through the Georgian line to score in the right corner in style and open a 28-10 lead.

Georgia were handed a way back into the game when Tommaso Benvenuti was handed a yellow card for a late tackle on Beka Bitsadze with the try line at his mercy. More punishment followed with a penalty try awarded by Jackson.

But Italy were able to marshal their defence masterfully throughout the ten-minute period as they held out for a memorable victory and their second victory of 2018.

Player Watch:

Italy bounced back in perfect fashion from the defeat in Chicago and a number of players put their heads above the parapet to gain their first win of the autumn internationals.

Braam Steyn was handed the man of the match trophy inside the stadium for a stunning performance in handling the Georgian’s physical strength and linking the Italians attacking bursts.

But for a player that’s currently unattached after leaving Exeter Chiefs, centre Michele Campagnaro delivered a stunning performance to show what he’s all about by scoring the second try of the match.

The 25-year-old was equally as effective in a defensive capacity – tackling hard, keeping his discipline and operating as an effective counterweight against for the powerful Georgian forwards.

Key Moment:

The game swung on both yellow card decisions in each half and it was just a question of who was going to use their man advantage to full effect.

Ultimately a poor tackle from Giorgi Tsutskiridze made the difference with the Italians gradually gaining the ascendancy at that period of the game.

O’Shea’s side immediately struck at their opponents, having a try struck off by the TMO, before scoring a penalty and a try through Mattia Bellini to take a comfortable lead that Georgia could never recover from.

Stats Watch:

–    Italy have won three games in a row against Georgia. –    Italy are unbeaten against Georgia. –    Italy secured their second win of 2018 after beating Japan in June. –    Michele Campagnaro has scored two tries in his last two matches.