Autumn Internationals: Italy's historic win over Australia; England bounce back; Argentina dented ahead of facing Scotland

On a busy day of Autumn Nations Series matches, Italy chalked up one of the biggest wins in their history after overcoming Australia in Florence.

Niccolò Cannone celebrates during a lap of honour after Italy overcame Australia.
Niccolò Cannone celebrates during a lap of honour after Italy overcame Australia.

Two tries from full-back Ange Capuozzo helped steer Italy to a 28-28 victory – their first over the Wallabies – with a much-changed Australia side unable to deny them right at the death as debutant Ben Donaldson’s conversion attempt whistled past the post. IT is Italy’s maiden triumph in 19 meetings with Australia and leaves them with two wins from two so far in the Autumn Nations Series following their success over Samoa. However, the loss is a concern for the touring Wallabies who have now suffered back-to-back defeats after also being edged out by one point against France in Paris last weekend. They did edge out Scotland last month at BT Murrayfiled, however.

Australia trailed 17-3 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after Pierre Bruno and Capuozzo both touched down for the Azzurri, but Tom Wright pulled one back to reduce Italy’s advantage to 17-8 at the break. Fraser McReight scored four minutes after the break to help cut the gap further, but Capuozzo soon went over for his second try of the game after bursting through the Australian defence and touching down in the right corner. Tom Robertson soon added a third try for the Wallabies to give them a lifeline and Cadeyrn Neville crossed at the very end of the match, but Donaldson was unable to convert as Italy held on for a famous win.

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England bounce back against Japan

Six days after collapsing to a shock defeat by Argentina, England regrouped by running in six tries against Japan at Twickenham to put a spring back in their step ahead of Saturday’s long-awaited clash with the All Blacks next weekend. Marcus Smith and Guy Porter crossed twice each to lead the charge and there was greater conviction about all aspects of England’s play on a day that saw Freddie Steward reign as the most influential player on the field. Japan had no answer and were comprehensively defeated 52-13.

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Pumas taken down by Wales

In Cardiff, Wales put their Autumn Nations Series campaign back on track by beating Argentina 20-13 in an arm-wrestle of a Test match at the Principality Stadium. Just seven days after shipping 55 points against New Zealand, Wales made a strong response as tries from number eight Taulupe Faletau and scrum-half Tomos Williams saw them home. Argentina, recent conquerors of the All Blacks, England and Australia, were kept at bay by a defensive red wall as Michael Cheika’s men endured an evening to forget ahead of facing Scotland next weekend, with Edinburgh’s Emiliano Boffelli scoring eight points from the boot.

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Ireland overcome bad start

In Dublin, Nick Timoney claimed two tries as Ireland overcame a sloppy start to prolong their fine form courtesy of a disjointed 35-17 Dublin victory over indisciplined Fiji. Robert Baloucoune, Mack Hansen and Cian Healy were also on the scoresheet at the Aviva Stadium to help rugby’s top-ranked nation back up victory over world champions South Africa. Andy Farrell’s much-changed side were well below their free-flowing best and forced to come from behind following Kalaveti Ravouvou’s fine opener, before conceding an outstanding consolation score to Simione Kuruvoli. Fiji played most of a stop-start second half a man down after Gloucester flanker Albert Tuisue was dismissed for ploughing into the head of Joey Carbery, while Manasa Saulo and Api Ratuniyarawa each spent spells in the sin bin. Despite a fragmented display featuring opportunities for a handful of fringe players, the stuttering Irish were never in serious danger of slipping to a first defeat to the Pacific islanders as they warmed up for next weekend’s showdown with Australia in victorious fashion.