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McKinley completes incredible journey to international rugby scene

Treviso and Italy fly-half Ian McKinley

Ian McKinley made his Italy debut, six years on from losing the sight in his left eye, as the Azzurri beat Fiji 19-10 in Catania on Saturday.


Ireland-born fly-half McKinley, who was initially forced to retire after being injured in an on-field accident but subsequently revived his career with Treviso, came on as a second-half substitute and kicked an 80th-minute penalty to seal his adopted country’s win.

The two teams were level at half-time, but two Carlo Canna penalties edged Italy in front before McKinley rounded things off.

Both Italy and Fiji can expect stiffer tests next weekend when they face Argentina and Ireland respectively.

Italy twice moved ahead in the opening period on Saturday, only to be pegged back on each occasion.

Canna’s early three-pointer was cancelled out by Ben Volavola and Fiji responded in kind to Simone Ferrari’s try through highly-rated lock Leone Nakarawa.

Penalties then provided the only points of the second period as Italy prevailed against a team five places above them in the World Rugby rankings.




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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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