Error-strewn Italy secure bonus-point win over Namibia


Italy will need a big improvement going into their second pool game at the Rugby World Cup as coach Kieran Crowley bemoaned his side's inaccuracy in their opening 52-8 victory over minnows Namibia at a sweltering Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

The scoreline may be one-sided but Italy only pulled away in the closing stages on Saturday and for the most part looked below par as they knocked balls on, threw wild passes and allowed Namibia to turn over plenty of possession.

"If you had given me 50 points before the game, I would have grabbed them," Crowley told reporters.

"But we turned over about 22 balls and you can't afford to do that. It was pretty hot out there and the boys are pretty gassed, so we'll take it and we'll move on.

"They shut us down in the first half – we've got to be better than we were in that area. There's a whole lot that must improve."

The error-strewn Italians led 17-8 at the break on Saturday and later scored a superb 60-metre try through livewire wing Ange Capuozzo.

They comfortably earned a bonus point as they ran in seven tries in all, taking advantage of the wilting Namibians late in the game.

But Namibia's wait for a first World Cup win extends to a record 23 games, though they also scored an excellent try via wing Gerswin Mouton.

Italy scored after 11 minutes when Lorenzo Cannone went over after a lineout maul with Namibia already down to 14 as hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld was sin-binned.

His absence proved calamitous at a lineout four minutes later as No.8 Richard Hardwick took the throw, launching the ball way over the lineout and into the hands of the Italian backs, allowing Paolo Garbisi to sprint away and score to extend the Italian lead to 17-3.

Namibia, still down a man, scored their try from their first attack with a long pass down the line from five-eighth Tiaan Swanepoel, catching out the Italian cover defence and allowing Mouton to score in the corner.

Italy were much stronger after the break, with the difference in quality off the bench all too evident.

Lock Dino Lamb crashed over at the end of relentless pressure in the 46th minute before Capuozzo's break from inside his own half brought the crowd to its feet, as he exchanged passes with Monty Ioane to score in the 55th minute.

Italy's fifth try came after another flamboyant break by the backs, finished off by the forwards pounding away at the Namibia defence before breaching their lines with replacement Hame Faiva going over six minutes from time.

Manuel Zuliani took advantage of a tiring Namibia defence to break two tackles and race down the line for his 78th minute try before Paolo Odogwu finish the game with another score.

Tommaso Allan kicked over all the conversions and also an early penalty for a 17-point haul. Swanepoel kicked one penalty for Namibia.