Auckland, New Zealand (4E Sports) – Skipper Filippo Buscema booted in 19 points as Italy shocked Argentina, 29-26, Friday in Pool A of the Junior Rugby World Championship at QBE Stadium.
First half tries from Gabriele di Guilio and Lorenzo Maria Bruno gave the Italians the halftime lead and never trailed from there as they cruised to their first win in two tries. The Italians lost their first game, 63-3, to England.
The win was the first for the Italians in the JRWC since they hosted the tournament in 2011. The loss was the second straight in as many games for Argentina.
“I am very happy. I am very proud of these guys. The boys needed this, they played a great game of rugby and were mentally tough. We wanted to win this match and we stayed mentally tough,” said Italy coach Alessandro Troncon.
Troncon credited the team’s defense, which prevented Argentina from taking the lead late in the game.
“You can see at times these players don’t believe in themselves so a result like this is fantastic for the team. Our defense was good at the end – still lots to work on, especially around the offside, but they grew and showed the belief to win,” he said.
Italy’s well-worked scrum move led to fullback Gabriele di Giulio crossing after just six minutes but Argentina answered quickly with tighthead prop Tomas Ramirez latching on to the end of a lineout drive for his try.
Argentina manufactured a try in the corner, finally confirmed by the TMO, to No. 12 Bautista Ezcurra to help tie it up at 20-all. Buscema, Italy’s captain and general, popped over a dropped goal, which was ultimately the difference.