Australia have finally manage to get a win under the belt when they beat Italy 26-7 on Saturday.
Even though they outscored Italy with four tries to one it was far from convincing but it was a win they needed.
As good they were in the first half, as poor they were in the second.
Australia did most of the early attacking but had nothing to show for their efforts.
The game came alive in the seventh minute when Jayden Hayward made a superb line break which caught the Wallabies by surprise. He kicked the ball upfield where Braam Steyn gathered deep inside the visitors’ 22 and although he dotted down in the right-hand corner, his effort was disallowed after television replays revealed he had a foot in touch.
Three minutes later, Australia had a chance to take the lead when Tommaso Benvenuti made an early tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper but Matt Toomua was off target with the resulting penalty.
Despite that miss, the Wallabies continued to attack but things went awry for the visitors in the 14th minute when Tito Tebaldi intercepted a pass from Jake Gordon – after a lineout close to the halfway line – and raced away before crossing the whitewash. But, much to the Wallabies’ relief, the try was ruled out when referee Pascal Gaüzère ruled that Tebaldi was offside when he gathered the ball.
The next 15 minutes was a tight affair as both sides spent time in their opponents’ half but neither managed to trouble the scoreboard during this period.
However, things changed on the half-hour mark when Samu Kerevi got over the advantage line with a devastating run. He threw an inside pass to David Pocock and he did well to offload to Marika Koroibete, who dotted down under the posts.
Five minutes later, the Wallabies increased their lead courtesy of another Koroibete try. This, after Ashley-Cooper found himself in space down the right-hand touchline before he stepped inside and offloaded to his fellow wing, who went over for his second five-pointer.
Toomua converted both tries which meant the Wallabies led 14-0 at half-time.
Australia were fastest out of the blocks after the break and four minutes after the restart, Taniela Tupou shrugged off a challenge from Tebaldi inside Italy’s 22 before powering his way over the tryline with Steyn on his back.
Toomua added the extras but two minutes later Mattia Bellini gathered a wayward pass from Bernard Foley, just inside Italy’s half, and raced away before crossing for his side’s only try which was converted by Tommaso Allan.
That try boosted the Azzurri, who spent most of the next 15 minutes camped inside the Wallabies’ half. And on the hour-mark, the home side received a shot in the arm when the Wallabies were reduced to 14 men after Scott Sio was yellow carded for a deliberate knockdown close to his try-line.
Italy continued to pile on the pressure but, after spending the next 10 minutes camped inside Australia’s half, a handling error from Steyn was pounced on by Israel Folau, who gathered the loose ball before racing upfield, although Bellini did well to haul him in on the edge of the Azzurri’s 22.
The game’s closing stages was a tight affair but the Wallabies finished stronger and Genia made certain of the result in the 79th minute when he crossed from close quarters after Ashley-Cooper did well with a mazy run in the build-up.
Tries: Koroibete 2, Tupou, Genia
Cons: Toomua 3
Yellow Card: Sio