After defeating USA with a score line of 27-10, Italy still has a chance of debuting in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Italian forwards dominated the proceedings thanks to captain Sergio Parisse, who gave the Azzurri a dream start. Three minutes into the game and Parisse dove for a try. USA’s full back, Chris Wyles on the other hand kept the Italians busy with his advancements, however the Italian defensive lines seldom faltered.
Italy planned to counter USA’s man-marked game play with their expansive style of play. Their tactics had been successful against Russia, therefore they intended to ride out the storm in a similar fashion. However, the Azzurri had to improvise as USA’s tough defence dogged their men around the field.
“We watched Russia versus the United States and there was no dominant scrum," Italy coach Nick Mallett said. "We completely destroyed Russia’s scrum and there is no reason why we couldn’t destroy USA's. Clearly, we had a very dominant scrum today and it would have been ridiculous not to use the strength of our forwards."
Fly half Luciano Orquera recorded his first World Cup try before man of the match Martin Castrogiovanni supplied another around half time. Later, Italy secured a bonus point when referee George Clancy awarded them penalty after USA collapsed their scrum.
"We are good in the tight play, so why shouldn't we be able to use it?" prop Andrea Lo Cicero said. "Why shouldn't we be able to profit from it? Why should others profit from being weak in the scrum?"
Mallett had the Italian defence upgraded for the match. In his post match press release, Mallett informed that Azzurri had learnt from mistakes in the match against Russia. Mallett’s new pounce-and-defend approach completely nullified the threats of wing-attacks, hence leaving flying winger Takudzwa Ngwenya utterly useless.
Even though coach Eddie O'Sullivan benched 14 players from the starting line-up of the match against Australia last Friday, the Eagles showed signs of fatigue. O'Sullivan admitted that Eagles could have achieved more from the tournament but he was happy with their efforts. He said that his men had worked hard for the tournament but lacked in a couple of skill sets which was why they often second best.
"We set up a strategy coming in that we'd try and get two major performances against tier-one nations and win against Russia," O'Sullivan said. "We certainly achieved our goal." Italy will now have to beat Ireland on 2nd October to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup.