11 Sep 2011

Australia hits stride in second half to down Italy

5:30 pm on 11 September 2011

Australia made a stuttering start but hit their stride with four second half tries to overcome Italy 32-6 in their opening World Cup match at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday.

The Tri-Nations champions were held 6-6 after a dour first half but scores from Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, James O'Connor and Digby Ioane saw them secure a bonus-point win in pool C, which also includes Ireland, Russia and the United States.

Italy's huge pack had severely tested the Wallabies in wet conditions in the first half, when the only scores came from two penalties apiece for Australia's Quade Cooper and Italian Mirco Bergamasco.

But with winger O'Connor, who lost his place in the side after sleeping through the World Cup squad announcement, back on the pitch as a replacement, the Wallabies backline proved to have too much flair for the Italians to contain.

Wallabies captain James Horwill says it was a good scrap in the first half but fortunately for his side they managed to put pressure into points in the second half.


Australia: Tries: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, James O'Connor, Digby Ioane. Conversions: O'Connor (3). Penalties: Quade Cooper (2).

Italy: Penalties: Mirco Bergamasco (2).

Referee: Alain Rolland.