Italian Azzurri win opening World Cup Qualifier
Italy rugby league technical advisor Paul Broadbent has praised the efforts of the Azzurri as they opened their 2013 Rugby League World Cup European Zone Qualifying campaign with a resounding 92-6 win over Russia in Padova. His charges posted 16 tries with man of the match Wyong winger Josh Mantellato leading the way with 36 points from two tries and 14 goals in front of an enthusiastic, sun-drenched crowd.
“The guys were very good all over the park,” said Broadbent. “We started the game very efficiently, but before halftime we got a bit loose. We refocused in the interval and got back to how we started the game. Our back row was really impressive and hooker Ray Nasso played very well, causing the Russians quite a bit of trouble in the middle of the park.”
Broadbent also praised his star man and skipper Anthony Minichiello who was the springboard for a number of the tries, and was Italy’s main attacking provider. The hosts forced a goal line drop out from their first set and when David Nasso went over soon after, the signs were ominous for the inexperienced Russians.
The centre added to their woes with his second score and Italy built a 36 point lead in the run up to half time, their fourth touchdown the highlight, the ball rippling through 12 pairs of hands. Russia got on the score sheet just before the break, their sole four-pointer coming from FC Vereya's Alexey Nikolaev, skipper Aleksander Lysokon goaling.
With North Queensland back rower Joel Riethmuller hugely impressive throughout with his midfield breaks and offloads, the Italians were immediately on the front foot at the start of the second period, Matt Parratta knocking on with the line beckoning.
Riethmuller claimed a deserved score and stand off Ben Falcone a second from a Mantellato 40 metre break, as the greater experience of the home side came to the fore and the atmosphere became more celebratory. Scrum half Ryan Ghietti posted a try double for the Italians and Ray Nasso a deserved try; Matt Parrata, Matthew Sands, Newcastle Knight Cameron Ciraldo, XIII del Ducatto pair Dean Vicelich and Rob Quitadamo and Rhys Lennarduzzi also finding the whitewash.
Broadbent had a word of consolation for the Russians who now face Lebanon in Moscow next week while the Italians head for Belgrade.
“They never game up, they’re a young team but physically we were just too much for them,” he said. “You’d have to say, though, that if they’d played against only Italy’s domestic players, they’d be considered favourites.”
The only down side for the Italians was that Villefranche de Rouergue’s Cederic Prizzon suffered a suspected broken arm and will not take any further part in the qualifiers.
Tries: Josh Mantellato 2, Dom Nasso 2, Ben Falcone 2, Ryan Ghietti 2, Matt Parrata, Mattew Sands, Cameron Ciraldo, Josh Riethmuller, Dean Vicelich, Rob Quitadamo, Ray Nasso, Rhys Lennarduzzi
Goals: Josh Mantellato 14 from 16
Team: Anthony Minichiello (c), Christophe Calegari, Dom Nasso, Matt Parrata, Josh Mantellato, Ben Falcone, Ryan Ghietti, Alex Ranieri, Ray Nasso, Ryan Tramonte, Cameron Ciraldo, Joel Riethmuller, Rob Quitadamo. Subs: Dean Vicelich, Cederic Prizzon, Matthew Sands, Rhys Lennarduzzi
Tries: Alexey Nikolaev
Goals: Aleksander Lysokon 1 from 1
Team: Maksim Suchkov, Petr Botnarash, Andrey Zdobnikov, Mikhail Burlutskiy, Rustam Bulanov, Aleksander Lysokon (c), Eduard Ososkov, Sergey Konstantinov, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Ilgiz Galimov, Alexey Nikolaev, Grigory Esin, Vadim Fedchuk. Subs: Sergey Gaponov, Igor Chuprin, Vladimir Gotsulyak, Artem Grigoryan
Venue: Stadio Communale del Plebiscito, Padova