Category Archives: Italy

Vunisa relaxed about stepping in for Italian hero

Big on being a ball carrier at number eight . . . Vunisa. Photo: World Rugby

Big on being a ball carrier at number eight . . . Vunisa. Photo: World Rugby

Fiji-born number eight happy to replace Sergio Parisse in the Azzurri’s opening match against France on Saturday

GUILDFORD – Italy’s Samuela Vunisa is remarkably laid back for someone who has to replace a national hero.

The Fiji-born number eight is the man who has been selected to take the place of injured captain Sergio Parisse in the Azzurri’s opening match against France at Twickenham on Saturday.

Parisse is yet to recover after having a haematoma drained from his calf muscle and Italy coach Jacques Brunel gave the 27-year-old Vunisa the nod, with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini chosen to lead the team out as captain.

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Filed under Italy, RugbyWorld Cup

Italy claim victory over Samoa

Italian fullback Andrea Masi is tackled by a Samoan player. Photo: Planet Rugby

Italian fullback Andrea Masi is tackled by a Samoan player. Photo: Planet Rugby

Italy came from 3-10 down at half-time to defeat Samoa 24-13 in their November Test at Stadio Cino e Lilio Del Duca in Ascoli.

New Zealand-born fly-half Kelly Haimona kicked 14 points to inspire Italy to the hard-fought win as they ended a nine-match string of defeats.

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Filed under Italy, Manu Samoa, November Tests

Fiji drops in rankings

Fiji and Samoa tussle for the ball in an earlier international. Photo: stuff.co.nz

Fiji and Samoa tussle for a high ball in an earlier international. Photo: stuff.co.nz

Fiji dropped a spot in the IRB World Rankings from 10 to eleven after the narrow 13-18 defeat to Manu Samoa last Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

The drop follows recent promotion in rankings from 16th after the 2011 Rugby World Cup steadily moving up to number 10 before the drop in the latest status of the IRB world rankings this week.

Japan moved into number 10 after the 26-23 triumph over Italy with Scotland and Samoa, two of the teams they are paired with in Pool B in England next year, firmly in their sights.

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Filed under Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, IRB, Italy, Japan, Rankings

Japan hires lineout coach

Former English skipper Steve Borthwick is new Japan lineout coach. Photo: Planet Rugby

Former English skipper Steve Borthwick is new Japan lineout coach. Photo: Planet Rugby

Japan coach Eddie Jones is eager for his side to peak at next year’s World Cup after an impressive nine-game winning streak for the national team.

Victories over Canada and the USA have made for an outstanding month for the Brave Blossoms, with this weekend seeing them face Italy in Tokyo.

And Jones believes it will be a difficult task to make it ten in a row when they face the Azzurri, a side they have struggled against in the past.

“It will be our toughest game of the year,” the former Australia head coach told reporters.

“Japan’s record against Italy is not impressive so it’s a fantastic opportunity to change Japanese rugby history.”

Japan’s recent success risks becoming a double-edged sword for Jones, however, as World Cup rivals devote more time to analysing how to avoid being upset in England next year.

“Of course we really want to peak at the World Cup,” said Jones.

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Filed under Italy, Japan, Pacific Nations Cup, Test, Tours

Italy nilled by Samoa

Flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicked five penalties for Manu Samoa. Photo: Planet Rugby

Flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicked five penalties for Manu Samoa. Photo: Planet Rugby

Samoa fly-half Tusi Pisi kicked five penalties in his side’s 15-0 victory over struggling Italy at Apia Park on Saturday.

The result follows the Azzurri’s loss to Fiji last weekend to round off a poor year in Test rugby so far.

Pisi made them pay with five successful kicks as Samoa responded from their surprising 18-18 draw with Tonga last weekend.

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Filed under Italy, Manu Samoa, Pacific Islanders, Pacific Nations Cup, Test

Samoa, Italy to outwit each other

Flyhalf Tusi Pisi will be the key player for Manu Samoa today in Apia. Photo: Planet Rugby

Flyhalf Tusi Pisi will be the key player for Manu Samoa today in Apia. Photo: Planet Rugby

After rusty performances last weekend, both Samoa and Italy will be out to prove a point when they do battle in Apia today.

Tonga shocked Samoa in Apia, when they claimed a late 18-18 draw, and Italy’s three-Test tour got off to a poor start when they suffered a 25-14 defeat to Fiji in Suva.

Apart from that draw against Tonga, Samoa – albeit without several of their overseas-based players – also suffered a 33-14 defeat to Japan in Tokyo last month.

They also faced Tonga with several first-choice players on the bench but have recalled world class Northampton Saints duo Kahn Fotuali’i and George Pisi to their back-line while London Irish bruiser Ofisa Treviranus Saracens prop James Johnston and Clermont hooker Ti’i Paulo also return to the run-on side to bolster the pack.

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Filed under International, IRB, Italy, Manu Samoa, Pacific Islanders, Pacific Nations Cup, Test