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Australia vs Italy
International, 24 June, 2017
|Fulltime - Australia 40, Italy 27|
|Referee: Matthew Carley|
|Touch judges: Wayne Barnes & Brendon Pickerill|
|TMO: Ben Skeen|
A try from Bernard Foley in the 76th minute has sealed a win for the Wallabies over Italy, but it was a long way from being a convincing victory.
The Wallabies head to Brisbane this Saturday to take on Italy. The men in gold are desperate to save face after last week’s 19-24 loss to Scotland in Sydney. Join The Roar for live scores and updates, starting from 3pm AEST.
Coach Michael Cheika has shuffled his squad, recalling captain Stephen Moore to the front row as one of six changes to the starting 15.
Scott Sio, Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani, Sefa Naivalu, and Rob Horne are the others to earn recalls.
Jack Dempsey also features on the bench for a possible debut despite missing almost the entire Super Rugby season through injury.
As for the Italians, they’ll be frustrated on the back of a narrow 22-19 loss to Fiji thanks to a late Ben Volavola drop goal.
The Azzurri have not won a Test since November 2016 when they upset the Springboks, but they’ll hardly get a better chance to topple a Wallabies outfit low on confidence and cohesion.
The visitors have made just two starting changes, bringing in Tito Tebaldi at scrumhalf, as well as Andries Van Schalkwyk at No.8, while Marco Lazzaroni joins the bench.
“We came so close, we should’ve beaten Fiji on the balance looking back on the game, but we know this is a step up in class,” said Italy coach Conor O’Shea.
“We’re on a huge growth curve in Italian rugby. Changes that should’ve been made years ago, we’re making now with group of young players who are learning a lot, getting better.”
It shapes as an interesting tactical battle ‒ O’Shea’s team made headlines during the Six Nations when they refused to engage in rucks and swarmed around a bewildered England side.
Meanwhile, some have questioned Cheika’s apparent lack of game plan, let alone a Plan B or C.
The Wallabies have never lost to Italy in their previous 16 encounters, although they look mighty vulnerable at the moment.
The visitors will bring physicality plus a few tactical tricks up their sleeve, but the home side will be determined to defuse the heavy scrutiny they’ve been copping.
Wallabies by 10.
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