WATCH: Italy trounced Canada 48-7 on matchday seven of RWC 2019
The opening game of matchday seven saw Italy face off against Canada in a low key clash at the Level5 Stadium.
Canada, led by Alana Gattinger who's only the second woman to occupy the role of team manager at a men's World Cup opened their tournament today. Italy meanwhile came into the game off a 47-22 victory over Namibia; both teams had qualified for every single World Cup. Italy meanwhile were rewriting history as David Sisi became the first German born player to feature at a World Cup.
Furthermore, both teams had only conquered one match each this year but in all probability, neither side were expected to leave a group containing the All Blacks and the Springboks.
Italy 48 - 7 Canada: Watch highlights below
First half: Italy start strong
Just three minutes into the game, Canada found themselves conceding a penalty after they failed to release the attacker before attempting to contest the ball in the ruck. Tommaso Allan stepped up and promptly added there points as the Italians took an early lead.
Seven minutes into the game and Canada weren't doing themselves any favours and Italy pounced to punish them with a try a minute later. Braam Steyn carried on from the base of the try before powering through a few Italians to touchdown. Allan grabbed the extras as the scoreline read 8-0 to Italy.
Five minutes later and Italy scored again as Dean Budd rode over a loose challenge to comfortably cross under the posts. And once again, Allan garnered the extras to give Italy a commanding 17-0 early into the tie.
Past the opening quarter and Canada had missed 14 tackles from an attempted 30 and Italy were making the most of those errors.
18 minutes in however and Canada squandered a golden opportunity to score a try as Matt Heaton fumbled the ball just five metres out from the try line as the chance went begging.
As the half wore on, Canada began to grow into the game exhibiting courage and intent but as the halftime gong sounded, Italy were well in the lead. In what turned out to be an entertaining affair, Italy controlled the tempo with some well executed tries with the North Americans struggling against their opposition's intensity. Nevertheless, the Canadians could've and probably should've hand a mark on the scoreboard were it not for their handling errors.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 26, 2019
Second half: Italy roar away
As the second half beckoned, Canada might have been the ones in higher spirits given how the finished the first half. Just three minutes into the second half, it would count for nothing though as normal service was resumed with Italy scoring another try courtesy of Sebastian Negri after the Azzuri moved through the phases. After Allan converted, the scoreline stood at a heady 24-0 to the Italians.
With the result almost certainly put beyond doubt, Canada continued to brave on encouraged by the crowd.
With less than half an hour to play, both sides began to tire with Canada continuing to commit errors in handling.
57 minutes in and Canada were punished with another penalty and Italy had a line-out in close proximity to their opposition's try line. The Italian maul hauled over the line as Luca Bigi held onto the ball. A TMO review was consulted after DTH Van Der Merwe was found holing up Bigi casting doubt as to whether the ball was grounded.
In the end, the ref awarded Italy a penalty try as Matt Heaton illegally attempted to sack the maul. An embarrassing 31-0 to Italy it stood as the game entered its final quarter.
Not content with their performance or scoreline, Italy secured another try minutes later as Mattia Bellini landed the Azzuri's fifth try after Jake Polledri did brilliantly to glide past several defenders to feed his teammate on the wing. Allan skewed the conversion wide to set the score at 36-0.
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) September 26, 2019
In the 63rd minute, Canada scored a try thanks to Tyler Ardron efforts but in a cruel twist, it ended up being disallowed after refreee Nigel Owens found that Ben LeSage had knocked on before his teammate's run past the posts. Canada were agonisingly left waiting for their first points in the World Cup.
Then, in a victory for the underdogs, Andrew Coe collected the ball out wide from Peter Nelson before a flying finish to secure a brilliant try for the North Americans. Nelson added the extras to take the score to 36-7 as the Canadians were showered with the biggest cheer of the night for their due reward.
In the 72nd minute, the Italians restored supremacy in the tie as Federico Zani scored with minutes left in the match. As Carlo Canna finished off the conversion, the scoreline sounded to the tune of 43-7 with minutes left in the game.
With seconds left in the game, Italy hammered in a final nail in the coffin courtesy of Matteo Minozzi who scored a try having completed a brilliant performance all game. Canna's missed conversion kept the scoreline at 48-7.
14 - @JakePolledri beat 14 defenders in this match, the most ever by a @Federugby player in a @rugbyworldcup match, the most by a forward of any nation in a Rugby World Cup game and the most by any player in this edition of the tournament. Inarrestabile. #RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/plIYobIYMz
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) September 26, 2019
And so it finished at Fukuoka with the Europeans grabbing a sizeable victory by a margin of 41 points. The Azzuri have completed two wins from two as they head into their next match against the Springboks. They've done well to get themselves into a comfortable position with two difficult games coming up.
For the Canadians, their poor defensive displays in the first half coupled with some attacking inaccuracies left them short of making a strong imprint on the game. Coach Gattinger will look to reset her team for their daunting clash against the All Blacks coming up next.