Italy battle back to beat Japan
August 13, 2011
Italy battled back from a first half deficit to claim a 31-24 victory over Japan in their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash in Cesena
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Italy battled back from a first half deficit to claim a 31-24 victory over Japan in their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash in Cesena.
The hosts powered into a 14-0 lead inside the opening quarter hour thanks to tries from centre Matteo Pratichetti and scrum-half Edoardo Gori with fly-half Riccardo Bocchino converting both scores.
But Japan struck back before the break to level things up with winger Takeshisa Usuzuki crossing for a score that was swiftly followed by another from centre Koji Taira. Fly-half James Arlidge converted both scores and added a further penalty before the break to give his side a 17-14 lead as the sides headed to the tunnel.
Italy wasted little time in wrestling back control of the game following the re-start with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini claiming a try that was converted by Bocchino. They extended their advantage with another try from prop Andrea Lo Cicero just before the hour mark but five minutes later he found himself in the sin-bin as Japan mounted another comeback.
Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty try and Arlidge's conversion brought his side back to within four points. But their hopes of a late turnaround were all but dashed by a yellow card for prop Hisateru Hirashima with a late penalty from replacement Luciano Orquera setting the seal on Italy's win.
Italy will wrap up their World Cup preparations against Scotland at Murrayfield next weekend with Japan slated to meet the United States in Tokyo.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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