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Curse of the first-scorer claims another victim in Italy v Namibia

By Online Editors
Oliviero Fabiani of Italy is tackled by Tjiuee Uanivi of Namibia during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between Italy and Namibia. (Photo by Koki Nagahama / Getty Images)

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Namibia have put up a grand fight against Italy and scored some superlative tries, but they couldn’t prevent the curse of the first scorer claiming another scalp in this year’s iteration of the World Cup.


Russia, Fiji, Argentina and South Africa all opened the scoring in their matches but also fell to their more-fancied opponents.

Namibia raced out to a 7-nil lead courtesy of halfback Damian Stevens, who finished off an excellent team try. Janco Venter gathered the loose ball after an Italian lineout went wrong and after the ball was played down the line, winger Chad Plato broke through three tackles before feeding back inside for Stevens to run in under the posts.

That was to be the Welwitschias only lead of the game, however, and was shortly lost on the back of a penalty try to the Azurri.

The Azzurri then went ahead after 25 minutes when Luca Morisi broke the defensive line and the ball was worked back inside for fly-half Tommaso Allan to run onto the ball at pace and crash over.

The Italians dominated much of the play at Hanazono Stadium in Sunday’s first half, with their forwards providing a stable base to attack and create space but it was not until scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi scored on the stroke of halftime that they were able to pull away.

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Winger Edoardo Padovani and replacement Carlo Canna both crossed shortly after the break to put the game beyond doubt, and meant the Italians had scored three times in ten minutes.

Namibian wing JC Greyling then scored in the corner for Namibia but Italy finished strong and Jake Polledri peeled off the back of the maul to crash over and Matteo Minozzi coasted in after Italy spread the ball wide from a lineout.

Italy ultimately recorded a comfortable 47-22 win, but the real challenge will come in just under two weeks when they must face up to South Africa.

Namibia, who have lost all 20 of their World Cup matches, still managed to give the crowd something to cheer about; all three of there tries were excellent, sweeping movements that involved the ball passing through multiple pairs of hands. The 22 points they scored is the second-most they’ve ever recorded in a World Cup fixture and will put the faltering Canadians on notice, who they will square off with in the final match of the group.


– with AAP

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Curse of the first-scorer claims another victim in Italy v Namibia