Italy crashed out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup over the weekend.
The Azzuri were always facing a tough battle to emerge from a pool consisting of two tournament favourites in New Zealand and France.
Succumbing to a humbling 96 – 17 loss to the All Blacks in round four, the Italians were thumped 60 – 7 a week later by the World Cup hosts.
The clear regression from this young team’s exceptional strides over the past 24 months makes these losses more devastating.
Undoubtedly possessing talented players, the Italians seemed overawed by their final two opponents and will now need to rebuild under incoming head coach Gonzalo Quesada.
Whilst there is no doubt the bulk of the Italian issues were self-inflicted, a couple of crucial moments simply went against them this tournament.
A Crucial Moment
One such incident occurred as they were trailing France 24 – 0.
Looking to close the deficit, Italy was camped on the French line and would eventually cross for a try to give them a slight foothold in the fixture.
Unfortunately for the Italians, the try was disallowed for an incident that had taken place a phase before the ball was grounded.
As backrow Sebastian Negri carried into contact, the Italian support came to clear the ruck for scrumhalf Stephen Varney.
Leading the charge was prop Simone Ferrari, who took aim at French scrumhalf Maxime Lucu.
Lucu, who was attempting to steal the ball, was caught shoulder height by Ferrari, who had appeared to drop his height to make the clearout.
Upon review, the referee, Karl Dickson, felt foul play had occurred and overturned the try.
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