Italy kicked off their Autumn Nations Series campaign with a thumping 49-17 win over Samoa on Saturday, their fourth victory in their last five Tests.
Keiran Crowley’s side ran in six tries in a dominant display in Padua, with Pierre Bruno and Monty Ioane both dotting down twice and further scores from Juan Ignacio Brex and Lorenzo Cannone on his debut international appearance.
Tommaso Allan kicked 12 points with Paolo Garbisi adding another seven to give Italy a perfect start to a run of autumn fixtures which also includes the visit of Australia and South Africa.
UJ Seuteni, Duncan Paia’aua and Theo McFarland scored the away side’s tries as they were swept away on a beautiful autumn day in northern Italy.
“We want to change mentality, we were a defensive team during the last Six Nations and most of last year,” said captain Michele Lamaro.
“We want to improve the attacking phase, we want to keep the ball and we want to enjoy ourselves. I think that’s the key to it all, get ball in hand as much as we can and make the most of the chances we create.”
The hosts did the damage in the first half at Stadio Plebiscito with an exciting display of attacking rugby which built a 28-0 lead through tries from Brex — his first for Italy — Bruno and Ioane and Allan’s precise kicking.
Italy’s major problem has been ball handling in key situations but Crowley’s team were clinical in finishing off their chances.
Bruno’s converted 24th-minute score which made gave Italy a 17-0 lead was a case in point, with the ball carried the length of the field with rapid passes before the Zebre wing dotted down.
Australia-born Ioane then took Italy to an unassailable 35-0 advantage with two tries immediately before and after half-time, his second brilliantly taken in the corner and then converted by Allan.
Seuteni opened the away side’s account 11 minutes after the break with a brilliant low take and dive which was converted by D’Angelo Leuila.
But Cannone made it a perfect first cap for Italy thanks to the impressive scrum half Stephen Varney, whose long pass set the young Benetton flanker surging across the line.
And with just over an hour gone Italy took their tally to 49 when Bruno ended a spell of pressure by finishing off a delicate kick over the top from Montpellier fly-half Garbisi.
Debutant Paia’aua and McFarland restored some pride for Samoa with two scores in the final 10 minutes but the result has already long-since been decided…PACNEWS