Italy scored three tries within the space of 10 minutes either side of halftime to give themselves some breathing room against a stubborn Namibia before recording a 47-22 win in their Pool B opener at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashi-Osaka on Sunday.
The Namibians provided an early shock after five minutes with scrumhalf Damian Stevens finishing off a sweeping movement after Italy hooker Luca Bigi had overthrown a lineout.
The try, however, seemed to wake up the Italians and they began to exert some scrum dominance with referee Nic Berry awarding a penalty try after the Namibian pack had disintegrated on their line.
The Italians then produced several line breaks but were only able to convert twice, with flyhalf Tommaso Allan smashing over after a superb run by inside centre Luca Morisi.
Tito Tebaldi then scored on the stroke of halftime when lock Federico Ruzza popped a no-look pass to the scrumhalf, who gave his side a 21-7 halftime lead.
Despite torrential rain, the Italians put the game beyond doubt when Edoardo Padovani and Carlo Canna both crossed to give them a 35-7 lead and seemingly poised to open the floodgates.
A penalty from Namibia flyhalf Cliven Loubser and Greyling’s try from an attacking scrum staunched the flow but the Italians used their bench to finish strongly with replacements Jake Polledri and Matteo Minozzi both crossing.
Namibia’s Plato finished the scoring from a searing midfield break to give Italy coach Conor O’Shea some concerns about his side’s defence.
Namibia have now lost all 20 of their World Cup matches.
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