Italy exorcise demons in huge World Cup win over USA
ITALY have bounced back from a horror week to rack up a huge 46-0 win over USA in Townsville on Sunday.
Showing no signs of their player infighting which dominated the headlines midweek, the Azzuri ran in a whopping eight tries to put their World Cup campaign back on track.
The Italians sprung a late positional switch with James Tedesco moving from fullback to five-eighth and the move paid dividends with the Roosters-bound star scoring two tries, running for 192 metres as well as making nine tackle busts and two linebreaks.
MATCH CENTRE: Italy v USA
But is was 20-year-old Canterbury hooker Joseph Tramontana who stole the show, bagging two tries in the first half and setting up another in a man-of-the-match performance.
“To get the opportunity to play with these boys is unreal,” he said after the match.
“I’ve really got to thank them for taking me under their wing. I’m so grateful for it.”
Finally, Italy have shown some fight on the field to keep their slim Rugby League World Cup finals hopes alive with a 46-0 rout of United States in Townsville on Sunday.
The lead-up to the Azzurri’s must-win game was marred by an NRL integrity unit investigation into James Tedesco’s Cairns nightclub dust up with teammate Shannon Wakeman.
But it didn’t stop world No.12 Italy coming out swinging on Sunday, emerging from their week from hell to earn their opening victory of the 2017 tournament by running in eight unanswered tries.
Man of the moment Tedesco scored two of them.
Winger Josh Mantellato kicked a record seven goals for Italy in a Cup match. The Azzurri endured a shock opening 36-12 loss to Ireland last week in Cairns – then things really went pear shaped.
Hours after their surprise defeat Sydney Roosters signing Tedesco and Italy teammate Wakeman were involved in an off-field incident that prompted an ongoing NRL integrity unit probe.
The next day Italy halfback Jack Johns – son of ex-Kangaroo Matthew – was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a broken arm.
Yet Italy dug deep on Sunday to hold out world No.10 USA and remain a finals hope.
Italy must pull off a huge upset over the other team in their group – Pacific powerhouses Fiji – in their final pool clash in Canberra on Friday night to give themselves a chance of clinching a maiden quarter-final berth at just their second World Cup.
Only one team from their three-team group advance.
Italy were again behind the eight ball before kickoff on Sunday when veteran pivot Terry Campese failed to overcome a calf complaint.
It ensured NSW fullback Tedesco slotted into five-eighth for the Azzurri alongside new halfback Ryan Ghietti with Mason Cerruto the new No.1.
But Italy were otherwise untroubled against surprise 2013 Cup quarter-finalists USA.
At just their second tournament, Italy notched their biggest Cup total and largest win eclipsing both marks set in their 32-16 victory over Wales in 2013.
Nathan Friend lookalike, Canterbury NSW Cup hooker Joseph Tramontana, was inspirational for Italy helping himself to two first half tries. Italy led 28-0 at halftime.
Tedesco cut through three defenders to score his first try in the 15th minute before sealing the double by crashing over the left sideline in the 43rd.
Winless USA have now conceded 104 points in their two pool games.
ITALY 46 (J Tedesco 2 J Tramontana 2 M Cerruto R Ghietti J Mantellato P Vaughan tries J Mantellato 7 goals) beat USA 0 at 1300SMILES Stadium. Referee: Ashley Klein.