Inspirational Italy captain Sergio Parisse steered his side to a 53-17 win over Russia in their Pool C match at Trafalgar Park yesterday. Parisse was instrumental in at least three of Italy's six first-half tries, scoring the first and setting up two others as the clinical Italians dominated the forward exchanges to notch 50 points for the first time in a World Cup.
"We are very happy to take the victory and the five points which was very important for us to try and qualify [for the quarter-finals]," Parisse said in a pitch-side interview. "We scored some tries and we take confidence in our attack but our defence must improve because the US and Ireland [their next opponents] will be very hard."
Winger Giulio Toniolatti and centre Tommaso Benvenuti scored two tries each, while scrum-half Edoardo Gori, winger Luke McLean and Alessandro Zanni also crossed for the Italians. The Italian scrum, which constantly had the Russians on the back foot, was also rewarded when referee Wayne Barnes gave a penalty try after the Russians had collapsed the scrum.
Italy coach Nick Mallett felt his team got off to a good start before slightly losing their way. "I was very happy with the way we started the first half but then we got a bit loose," he said. "Russia ran hard at us, kept the ball and played some nice rugby. We needed five points to make sure we go into the game against Ireland with a good shot at going through."Reuse content