Italy beat the U.S. 27-10 at the Rugby World Cup yesterday to cut the gap to Pool C leader Ireland to three points before they meet in the last group game. Canada and Japan drew 23-23, the third tie in tournament history.
Italy’s Sergio Parisse, Luciano Orquera and Martin Castrogiovanni touched down in the first half and the Italians got a penalty try in the second half in Nelson, New Zealand. Chris Wyles accounted for all 10 points for the Americans, who were playing their last match at this year’s tournament.
Italy plays Ireland on Oct. 2 in a match that will decide which team advances to the quarterfinals. Ireland leads the five-team group with 13 points, followed by Australia and Italy on 10. Australia takes on last-place Russia the day before.
“We are happy because we took the five points,” Italy captain Parisse said. “That was the important thing for us. The U.S. made it hard work. Now we’re looking forward to the last match against Ireland with a lot of confidence.”
In Nelson, Parisse scored for Italy in the third minute, and the Americans responded as Paul Emerick burst through poor Italian tackling and passed to Wyles, who took it over the line.
The game was tied 10-10 in the 28th minute after the sides exchanged penalty kicks before Italy took control using its superior strength.
Orquera scored in the 30th minute and Castrogiovanni powered over the try line in the 40th minute to leave the Italians leading 20-10 at halftime.
In the second half, Italy secured possession and put the Americans under pressure near their own try line. The U.S. conceded 19 penalties to 7 for the Italians.
Referee George Clancy gave a yellow card to Louis Stanfill in the 59th minute as the Americans bent under the pressure of the Italian pack. Eight minutes later, he gave the penalty try to the Italians.
“They’re a tough team,” U.S. Captain Todd Clever said. “They’re a Six Nations team and have gotten some wins, because they know what to do under pressure. We gave it all that we had but in the end it wasn’t enough against a strong Italian side.”
In the Pool A match between Japan and Canada, the Brave Blossoms’ were leading 23-15 with eight minutes left in Napier after tries by Shota Horie and Kosuke Endo, and 13 points from James Arlidge.
Japan Ties Canada
Ander Monro scored Canada’s third try before adding a 79th- minute penalty. It was the teams’ second straight draw at rugby’s four-yearly championship after they tied 12-12 in 2007.
“It was some great fight at the end there to come back,” Canada captain Pat Riordan said in a televised interview. “We got out of it with a couple of points. That was the plan.”
The result lifted Canada above Tonga into third place in the Pool A standings with both teams having one match left to play. The third-place finisher will qualify automatically for the next World Cup in 2015.
Canada takes on top-ranked New Zealand in its final pool match on Oct. 2, a day after Tonga plays France. The All Blacks are the only team at the 20-nation tournament to have sealed a place in the quarterfinals.
“We’ll see what Sunday brings,” said Canada coach Kieran Crowley. “We’re now currently sitting third in the pool and that’s something that Canada’s never done before. We’ll be watching that France game pretty closely.”
Japan, which had lost 16 and drawn one of its previous 17 World Cup games, took a five-point lead over Canada into the final quarter at McLean Park. Japan had led 17-7 at halftime following first-half tries by hooker Horie and winger Endo.
Canada winger Phil Mackenzie burst through the Japan defense to make it 17-12 four minutes after the break. Monro’s 64th-minute penalty then cut gap to two points before Arlidge struck two penalties to put the Japanese closer to a first win since beating Zimbabwe at the 1991 tournament.
Monro then scored the final eight points to earn Canada the draw as Arlidge sent a drop goal attempt short in the final moments.
“We had the game, I thought we should have won it,” Japan coach John Kirwan said in a televised interview. “The boys played their hearts out. They did a great job today. A win would have been great but we just need to keep working hard.”
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