Match Report: Italy 48-7 Canada

Match Report: Italy 48-7 Canada

Italy crushed Canada with a 48-7 victory in Fukuoka as they maintained their unbeaten Rugby World Cup start ahead of a potentially pivotal clash with South Africa.

The Azzurri had only beaten Canada by five-point margins in each of their previous two World Cup encounters, but this victory was far more emphatic as second-rowers Braam Steyn and Dean Budd touched down in the first half.

Further tries from Sebastian Negri, Mattia Bellini, Federico Zani and Matteo Minozzi - along with a penalty try - gave Italy the bonus-point success as Conor O'Shea's side followed up their 47-22 win over Namibia with another impressive display.

Andrew Coe's score gave Canada a consolation, but Italy dominated ahead of clashes against heavyweights South Africa and New Zealand in their final two Pool A games, with only two teams qualifying for the last eight.

Steyn was the first to go over in the seventh minute when he rode three tackles in a powerful run, with Budd then taking advantage of some weak Canadian defending too, Tommaso Allan adding the extras to both to leave Italy firmly in charge.

Canada were unable to get on the board in the opening 40 minutes - Matt Heaton knocking on as he prepared to walk in under the posts unopposed - as Italy claimed a 17-0 advantage at the interval.

That lead was increased when Negri skipped away down the left and Italy had the bonus point secured before the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty try after Heaton was adjudged to have tackled a maul, earning a yellow card for his efforts.

Bellini was the next to cross and though Coe showcased some terrific footwork to dot down and ensure Canada got on the board, Zani and Minozzi scored Italy's sixth and seventh tries to round off a comfortable win.

Italians too powerful for out-of-sorts Canada

Canada came close to World Cup upsets against Italy in 2003 and 2015 but they looked like a team that had lost their last five games in a row. Steyn set the tone with a strong drive in the opening moments and fellow back-rowers Negri and man-of-the-match Jake Polledri were fantastic.

Fukuoka turf not pitch-perfect

Neither Canada nor Italy were helped by the horrendous pitch, which dug up far too easily and left sizeable mounds. Such issues are simply not expected at this level of the game.

What's next?

Italy's quarter-final hopes likely hinge on their clash with South Africa next Friday. It does not get any easier for Canada, who meet New Zealand in Oita two days earlier.

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