Rugby Union round-up: Cooper barrels over to save the Wallabies

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The Independent Online

Australia, playing the second of six Tests on their autumn tour, beat Italy 30-20 in Padova yesterday. The Wallabies scored tries through Lachie Turner and Quade Cooper, five penalties and a conversion from Matt Giteau and another penalty from their captain, Stirling Mortlock. Mirco Bergamasco, the Stade Français winger, scored Italy's try, Andrea Marcato kicking two penalties and a drop goal and Luciano Orquera two more penalties.

The sides were level at 14-14 at half-time and at 20-20 into the last eight minutes of the match at the Stadio Euganeo. Then Cooper, a replacement, scored his try. Another replacement, Giteau, who had come on early in the game thanks to an injury to Berrick Barnes, kicked the conversion and a penalty to wrap up a nervy win for the tourists.

Mirco Bergamasco's brother, the flanker Mauro, said: "There's a bit of a bitter taste because we came close. We made mistakes. But we showed that we can go forward, that we can play good rugby. We scored a beautiful first-phase try [set up from a scrum by an Andrea Masi run]. It's the sort of thing great teams often do against us. We have proved what we are capable of when we play at 120 per cent."

Australia, who lost to the All Blacks in Hong Kong last week, face England at Twickenham next weekend and then play France, Wales and the Barbarians, the last match taking place at Wembley on 6 December.

National League One's main event of the weekend is today's meeting at Headingley between the unbeaten leaders, Leeds, and Bedford. Yesterday second-placed Exeter beat third-placed Nottingham 29-18, Plymouth Albion beat Doncaster 21-18 and the Cornish Pirates won 19-3 at Esher. London Welsh, in fourth, squeezed out a 9-6 victory at struggling Otley.

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