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Australia 34-12 Italy

Adam Ashley-Cooper
Ashley-Cooper gave Australia a cutting edge in Melbourne

Substitute Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a try in each half as Australia secured a 2-0 whitewash over Italy in Melbourne.

Both sides rested key players but after Italy took an early lead with a penalty goal, Tatafu Polota-Nau scored the first try for Australia on 11 minutes.

The home side crossed the line again through Ryan Cross, while Ashley-Cooper went over a minute before half-time.

Italy kept the Australians scoreless for 30 minutes before Lachlan Turner and Ashley-Cooper ran in tries.

Having made numerous changes to the side beaten 31-8 in Canberra last week, Italy went ahead through the boot of Australia-born full-back Luke McLean, while fellow Aussie and former NRL star Craig Gower was effective and creative in his second start at fly-half.

But Australia's Quade Cooper created a four-on-one advantage in the right corner and Polota-Nau fell over the line for his first Test try.

Ashley-Cooper initially entered the fray when Peter Hynes was blood-binned, before replacing James O'Connor at full-back.

Cross took an inside pass to cruise over the tryline unscathed at the 26th minute before Ashley-Cooper leaped between two defenders to score.

Ashley-Cooper's second try came after he combined with Josh Valentine and sprinted clear from the 22-metre line.

Australia coach Robbie Deans said: "It was a good effort by a group who don't have a lot of background together.

"Once again, the Italians were successful in stymying our game for the greater part, but there were occasions where the boys worked hard and we scored five tries and that's not an easy thing to achieve against a side with the physical presence of these blokes."

Counterpart Nick Mallett was happy with the endeavour shown by his players and said: "It was a very tough game for us to play because it was a dry ball on a dry pitch and Australia have great athletes and great continuity and areas of our game could have been badly exposed.

"We were never going to win the game, but to stay in touch with 10 minutes to go I was really proud of the guys."



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see also
England replace Fiji with Aussies
17 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Australian Gower lands Italy call
18 May 09 |  Rugby Union


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