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Rugby World Cup: Italians fend off fightback from Romania for victory

Italy 32-22 Romania

By Phil Blanche

Published 12/10/2015

Touchdown: Leonardo Sarto scored one of Italy’s four tries
Touchdown: Leonardo Sarto scored one of Italy’s four tries

Italy's World Cup ended on a high as they survived a late rally from Romania to win their Pool D clash at Exeter's Sandy Park yesterday.

Going into their final encounter both sides were already out having only beaten Canada - but the winners here would crucially assure themselves of qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

And it was Italy - at times unconvincing in this tournament - who ran out 32-22 victors as Leonardo Sarto, Edoardo Gori and Tommaso Allan scored first-half tries with Alessandro Zanni adding the fourth shortly after the restart.

Italy were positive from the off but fell behind to Florin Vlaicu's penalty, won after a determined and strong push by the Romanians.

However, the Six Nations side soon stepped up a gear and ran in three tries before the interval.

After Zanni's second-half try a lull followed as Italy looked to close out the contest with little drama, but much to the delight of the spectators Romania wanted to end a positive tournament in style and reduced the deficit with three tries in the last 14 minutes as Apostol went over either side of a Popirlan try.

France: Spedding, Nakaitaci, Bastareaud, Fofana, Dulin, Michalak, Tillous-Borde, Ben Arous, Guirado, Slimani, Pape, Maestri, Dusautoir, Chouly, Picamoles.

Replacements: Dumoulin for Bastareaud (62), Tales for Michalak (55), Parra for Tillous-Borde (55), Debaty for Ben Arous (43), Kayser for Guirado (58), Mas for Slimani (63), Flanquart for Pape (73), Le Roux for Chouly (55).

France: Pens: Spedding 2, Parra.

Ireland: R. Kearney, Bowe, Earls, Henshaw, D. Kearney, Sexton, Murray, Healy, Best, Ross, Toner, O'Connell, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Heaslip.

Replacements: Fitzgerald for Earls (62),

Madigan for Sexton (25), Reddan for Murray (76), McGrath for Healy (57), Strauss for Best (73), White for Ross (65), Henderson for O'Connell (40), Henry for O'Mahony (55).

Tries: R. Kearney, Murray.

Cons: Madigan. Pens: Sexton 2, Madigan 2.

Att: 72,163

Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales).

Belfast Telegraph

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