21 Sep 2011

Italy run up a half century against Russia

6:54 am on 21 September 2011

Italy overran Russia 53-17 in Tuesday night's only Rugby World Cup game, played before a crowd of 12,000 in Nelson.

Showing the benefit of regular competition against top nations, Italy ran up a 38-7 lead at half-time, and they ended up with nine tries.

Before the match, more than 1,000 Nelson College students performed a stirring haka on the steps of Nelson cathedral to commemorate the first World Cup game to be held in the city, which hosted the first organised game of rugby in New Zealand in 1870.

Two teams dressed in 19th Century garb and playing by most of the rules of the day (hacking at the shins wasn't resurrected) re-enacted that fixture with Nelson Rugby Club, featuring many Tasman Makos players, beating Nelson College, with former All Blacks Wyatt Crockett and John Loveday, 3-1.

The only match on Wednesday is Japan-Tonga in Whangarei kicking off at 7.30 in the evening.