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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 19:56 GMT 20:56 UK
Italy 24-18 Romania
Italy's Mauro Bergamasco is tackled by Alexandru Manta
Italy found the going tough against a spirited Romania side

Italy: (8) 24
Tries: Dellape, penalty
Con: Pez
Pens: Bortolussi, Pez 3

Romania: (0) 18
Tries: Manta, Tincu
Con: Dimofte
Pens: Dimofte 2

Italy's stuttering World Cup campaign continued with a less-than-convincing win over Pool C minnows Romania.

The Azzurri, thrashed 76-14 by New Zealand at the weekend, took the lead thanks to a Santiago Dellape try and a penalty from David Bortolussi.

Romania fought their way back into the game and tries from Alexandru Manta and Marius Tincu put them 12-10 ahead.

But indiscipline cost Romania dear and a penalty try plus three penalties from Ramiro Pez were enough for Italy.

Italy coach Pierre Berbizier had made six changes following the thumping by the All Blacks and his side started brightly.


Recalled fly-half Pez created Dellape's score after just six minutes although the lock played no further part in the game as he fell awkwardly while touching down.

Bortolussi increased the lead seven minutes later and Italy could have added a second try but hooker Carlo Festuccia's score was ruled out when video evidence indicated he had taken the ball into touch.

But Italy went off the boil as Romania fought back, and the Azzurri started making a catalogue of errors as well as looking lacklustre in defence.

Romania finished the first half the better team and then took the lead with two tries in the opening eight minutes of the second period.

Marius Tincu
Hooker Tincu scored Romania's second try on 48 minutes

Manta was awarded a try by the video referee despite appearing to lose control of the ball as he was bundled over, while Tincu added a second score after brushing off some poor tackling.

The introduction of scrum-half Alessandro Troncon as a replacement for the injured Paul Griffen on 49 minutes seemed to lift the Italians and the sin-binning of Manta for bringing down a maul turned the game in their favour.

Italy camped on the Romanian line and after a series of infringements, referee Tony Spreadbury finally lost patience and awarded a penalty try.

Pez added three penalties to settle his team although two three-pointers from Ionut Dimofte kept Romania in the hunt.

Italy were able to hang on for the win but they look a shadow of the side that defeated both Scotland and Wales in this year's Six Nations and their inability to claim a bonus point could prove costly.

Romania, meanwhile, did themselves proud and could have even celebrated a shock win had full-back Iulian Dumitras landed his three penalty attempts.

A relieved Italy coach Pierre Berbizier said: "We won but not without hardship and Romania knew how to make it difficult for us."

Italy skipper Marco Bortolami added: "We had a lot of possession in the first half, but we didn't score much, then in the second half, we showed the Italian spirit.

"I always believed we could win. Our scrum was outstanding and it was one of the keys for our victory."

Italy: Bortolussi; Robertson, Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Masi, Pez, Griffen; Lo Cicero, Festuccia, Castrogiovanni, Dellape, Bortolami (capt), Sole, Mauro Bergamasco, Parisse.
Replacements: Ghiraldini, Aguero, Bernabo, Vosawai, Troncon, Galon, De Marigny.

Romania: Dumitras; Fercu, Gal, Gontineac, Brezoianu; Dimofte, Sirbu; Toderasc, Tincu, Balan, Socol (capt), Petre, Corodeanu, Manta, Tonita.
Replacements: Mavrodin, Popescu, Ratiu, Tudori, Calafeteanu, Tofan, Vlad.

As it happened - Italy 24-18 Romania
12 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
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