x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Italy rack up tries in their record Rugby World Cup win

Italians score nine tries in their 53-17 win against Russia in Pool C of the Rugby World Cup.

Giulio Toniolatti breaks through Russia's defence to score a try in Italy's 53-17 win at the Rugby World Cup.
Giulio Toniolatti breaks through Russia's defence to score a try in Italy's 53-17 win at the Rugby World Cup.

NELSON, NEW ZEALAND // Sergio Parisse had said that Italy would not deviate from their usual game plan in the pursuit of tries.

It did not matter as the Six Nations side hammered Russia 53-17 their way to keep their Rugby World Cup hopes alive with their biggest ever win in the tournament.

Italy raced out of the blocks with six tries in the first half before Russia, who celebrated their historic first ever World Cup tries, who recovered with a vastly improved second period.

The bonus-point win keeps Italy in the running for the quarter-finals from Pool C despite their opening loss to Australia, with a crunch encounter with Ireland looming on October 2.

Italy's scrum savaged the Russian pack in the first half and they capitalised on a host of errors as the captain Parisse surged through a gap in the defence to open the scoring on six minutes.

Winger Giulio Toniolatti then scored twice in 10 minutes either side of a try by Tommaso Benvenuti, who pounced when a loose ball slid under the diving body of the last Russian defender.

Italy were awarded a penalty try when their forwards overpowered the Russian scrum, but they suffered a blow when Fabio Ongaro was sin-binned for a thumping, shoulder-first collision which laid out the full-back Igor Klyuchnikov.

The minnows took full advantage when the replacement scrum-half Alexander Yanyushkin darted through to score the country's first ever try at the World Cup, in an unorthodox fashion, when he placed the ball down over his head after landing on his back in the covering tackle.

Gori crossed just before half-time to make it 38-7 at the break and Benvenuti grabbed his second eight minutes into the second period, but Russia were not done and Vladimir Ostroushko motored over on the right to keep the scores at 43-12.

Australian-born Luke McLean scored Italy's eighth try on 64 minutes but Alexey Makovetskiy received a looping cut-out pass in acres of space on the right to raise Russian hopes of a bonus-point fourth try.

However it was Italy who would have the final say when the flanker Alessandro Zanni flattened two defenders in his charge to the line in the 75th minute.

Italy have never reached the World Cup quarter-finals in six previous attempts. Their largest victory before today had been their 31-5 win over Portugal in 2007.

Italy now play the United States next week while Russia face Ireland on Sunday.