Italy edge to victory against brave Canada

Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:48am EDT
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By Tom Hayward

LEEDS (Reuters) - Italy held off a brave challenge from Canada for a 23-18 victory in the Pool D clash at Elland Road in Leeds to register their first win of this year's Rugby World Cup.

The Italians established a slim 13-10 lead by halftime but had to work hard in defense in the face of Canada's enterprising back line, which posed a constant threat until the final whistle.

Canada struck with fine tries from winger DTH Van Der Merwe and fullback Matt Evans, canceled out by scores from Italy prop Michele Rizzo and center Gonzalo Garcia.

But in the end it was the boot of Tommaso Allan that proved the difference between the well-matched sides, the flyhalf weighing in with 13 points.

The so-called minnow nations had done themselves nothing but credit during the tournament’s opening week and Canada continued in the same vain with their fearless approach at a sun-drenched Elland Road.

After flyhalf Nathan Hirayama kicked his side into a 3-0 lead, Van Der Merwe burst down the flank and exchanged passes with Ciaran Hearn before surging clear for the opening try.

Their 10-0 lead lasted barely a minute, however, as powerful prop Rizzo powered over and Allan knocked over the conversion.

Another Allan penalty leveled the scores at 10-10, but the Maple Leafs continued to look dangerous and break tackles as choruses of "let’s go, Canada" reverberated around the stadium.   Continued...

Rugby Union - Italy v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Elland Road, Leeds, England - 26/9/15
Canada's Jamie Cudmore in action
Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes