Italy hung on against an inspired Canada to claim a 23-18 victory and keep their outside chance of reaching the RWC quarter finals alive. Italy scored through Michele Rizzo and Gonzalo Garcia, with points from the boot coming from Tommaso Allan, but have a lot to work on ahead of Ireland next weekend.
With some Sevens stars making a huge impact, and former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH van der Merwe inspiring the side, Canada gave Six Nations side Italy a real scare as they scored some stunning tries and were disallowed another that could have been the killer blow.
Van der Merwe scored one of the tries of the tournament so far, but said he was frustrated that Canada couldn’t claim the scalp they had targeted many months back.
“Through this whole World Cup campaign, it has been our target to take Italy down,” said the South African born winger who moved to Canada over ten years ago.
“We put in a hell of an effort and the boys are sore. We came close, the game was there for the taking but we made some key decisions that resulted in us not winning, making poor passes and not taking extra rucks.
“It is the basic things that are going to let us down. Unfortunately, today we forced a few of those passes and we couldn’t finish off,” he added.
Canadian and Clermont lock Jamie Cudmore had a different view of the try that was called back. “We are all extremely frustrated. I think for the good of rugby, they could have let the forward pass go,” he joked.
A mention must be made of Mauro Bergamasco for the incredible achievement of taking to the field in his fifth Rugby World Cup. He joins Samoa’s Brian Lima as the only two players to ever play in 5 tournaments. Bergamasco, now aged 36, first played in the 1999 tournament.