Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Bergamasco kicks Italy to famous win over France

Reuters, ROME

Mirco Bergamasco kicked Italy to an historic 22-21 victory over Six Nations champions France on Saturday after a stirring second-half rally.

Italy, who had lost each of their previous 11 matches against France, trailed 18-6 midway in the second half after tries from Vincent Clerc and Morgan Parra.

Fullback Andrea Misi sparked the comeback by running in a try and Bergamasco, who had earlier missed two easier penalties, kicked three in the final 20 minutes to bring his personal tally to 17.

Italy began brightly in the spring sunlight and were 3-0 up within two minutes as Bergamasco kicked a straightforward penalty in front of the posts.

France, who had won by more than 30 points on their last three visits to Rome, were then quickly into their stride.

With 15 minutes on the clock, Clerc found space on the left, kicked over the head of Gonzalo Canale and dived over for an impressive opening try.

Parra, who started at scrumhalf instead of Dimitri Yachvili, missed the conversion, but kicked an easy penalty six minutes later to give the Grand Slam champions an 8-3 lead.

Making up for his early mistake, Canale steamed past several weak challenges and Italy won a penalty, which Bergamasco converted.

France, who lost to England at Twickenham two weeks ago, stepped up their game early in the second half. After another Parra penalty, the scrumhalf dived over between the posts on 51 minutes after a brilliant break from his halfback partner Francois Trinh-Duc.

Bergamasco missed two kickable penalties before the impressive Masi, given his first start at fullback in place of Luke McLean, ran over in the corner.

Bergamasco converted on the hour mark and, roared on by the crowd, kicked another penalty four minutes later to bring Italy within two points at 18-16.

Penalties were shared before Bergamasco kicked between the uprights again with four minutes to go to give Italy a one-point win, which they celebrated wildly at the final whistle.

WALES V IRELAND

REUTERS, CARDIFF

Wales scrumhalf Mike Phillips scored a controversial second-half try to give his team a 19-13 win over Ireland in their Six Nations championship match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Phillips raced over unopposed in the corner after a quick throw-in from captain Matthew Rees, sparking a furious protest from Ireland, who said the ball thrown in was not the one that had been kicked out.

Wales flyhalf and man-of-the-match James Hook, who won his 50th cap, said he had not seen the incident.

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll scored the only other try of the match, his 24th in the championship to equal the 78-year-old tournament record set by Scotland’s Ian Smith.

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