Written by Staff Writer
27 Sep, 2015 | 11:32 am
Italy 23 – 18 Canada
Italy held off a brave challenge from Canada for a 23-18 victory in the Pool D clash at Elland Road in Leeds on Saturday (September 26) to record their first win of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The Italians established a slim 13-10 lead by halftime but had to work hard in defence in the face of Canada’s enterprising back line, which posed a constant threat until the final whistle.
Canada struck with fine tries from wing D.T.H. Van Der Merwe and fullback Matt Evans, cancelled out by scores from Italy prop Michele Rizzo and centre Gonzalo Garcia.
But in the end it was the boot of Tommaso Allan that proved the difference between the well-matched sides, the flyhalf weighing in with 13 points.
RSA 46 – 06 Samoa
A hat-trick from winger JP Pietersen helped to restore South African pride with a 46-6 victory over Samoa in their Rugby World Cup Pool B clash at Villa Park, Birmingham on Saturday (September 26).
The Springboks bounced back from their shock loss to Japan to establish a 17-6 lead in the first half and pulled away with five tries in the second period to cap the bonus-point victory.
Pietersen scored either side of the break, before flanker Schalk Burger powered over and then replacement Schalk Brits grabbed the fourth try. Pietersen completed his hat-trick in the dying minutes, with fellow winger Bryan Habana scoring on the final play.
England 28 – 25 Wales
Wales produced a storming comeback to beat shell-shocked England 28-25 at Twickenham on Saturday (September 26) and leave theRugby World Cup hosts facing an almighty battle to reach the knockout stages from Pool A.
Battered, bruised and second best for an hour, the never-say-die Welsh came to life to secure a famous victory in the 127th and most significant meeting between the two nations.
Wales, who suffered yet more injury woes, trailed 25-18 but found their spark when it mattered most. Gareth Davies’s converted try levelled the scores with 20 minutes left and then a seventh penalty from outstanding flyhalf Dan Biggar settled a gripping contest.
With only two teams progressing to the knockout stages from the toughest of the four pools, defeat left the 2003 winners needing to beat Australia next Saturday (October 3) at Twickenham to stay in with a chance of avoiding a humiliating exit.
Winger Jonny May rewarded England’s first-half dominance with a well-taken try and coach Stuart Lancaster’s decision to bring in flyhalf Owen Farrell, in place of George Ford, and centre Sam Burgess appeared to be vindicated.
Farrell was clinical in front of goal but so was Biggar, whose ability to dissect the posts ensured Wales never lost touch. Wales coach Warren Gatland had urged his side to “smash” into England and there was no shortage of thunderous collisions in the opening quarter.
England absorbed the early charge and had the edge in the scrum and at the hotly-contested breakdown, with Billy Vunipola an ever-present menace to the Welsh.
In a supercharged atmosphere, England were ahead 9-6 when tensions boiled over, a melee involving all 30 players ensuing after the hosts were angered by what they perceived to be an illegal chop-tackle from Dan Lydiate on Tom Wood. No penalty was forthcoming but England were on the front foot and their pressure was rewarded when, following a lineout, May finished off a sweeping move across the width of the pitch.
Farrell converted to extend the lead to 16-6 before Biggar’s third penalty gave the Welsh hope for the second half. The halfbacks exchanged further penalties before the momentum changed.
Wales lost Scott Williams, Hallem Amos and Liam Williams to injury in the space of five minutes just after the hour mark but it did not stop Wales who were growing in stature.
They attacked England down the flanks and, from a lineout on halfway, replacement Lloyd Williams burst down the line to kick on for Davies to gather the ball inches from the line and dive under the posts. Biggar converted and then added his final penalty to leave England staring into the abyss.
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