Conor O’Shea’s men bounced back from last week’s drubbing against Ireland to beat their closest-ranked rivals.
ITALY WENT A long way to silencing calls for them to be replaced in the Six Nations today by inflicting a convincing four-try win over rivals Georgia.
The Azzurri, ranked 14th in the world and one place behind the Lelos, have been part of the premier European competition since 2000. Georgia’s case for promotion to the top-tier tournament has been based on their consistent dominance of Rugby Europe competitions and increasingly competitive showings in one-off Tests and World Cups.
They were unable to showcase that sort of impressive form in Italy today, however, as Conor O’Shea’s side overcame the early setback of a try from centre Tamaz Mchedlidze to power to victory thanks to tries from Michele Campagnaro, Mattia Bellini, Simone Ferrari and Tommy Allan.
Campagnaro ran in Italy’s opening try in the 20th minute to edge the hosts into the lead and after Allan extended the lead with a penalty awarded after a sin-bin for Giorgi Tsutskeridze, Zebre wing Bellini crossed the whitewash to give Italy am 18-7 half-time lead.
Ferrari ensured O’Shea’s men pulled further clear just three minutes after the restart and the Test was all but settled by the hour mark after Allan had grounded a fourth try for the intense Italians.
There was still a glimmer of a fightback to be quashed as Georgia continued to trust in their forward power and forced a penalty try along with a sin-bin for Tommaso Benvenuti.
This latest iteration of Italy, however, do not automatically wilt late on in international contests and the hosts regained control to maintain the 11-point cushion through to the finish in Florence and ensure that they will swap places with Georgia when the world rankings are updated.
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