Debu­tant McKin­ley closes out the vic­tory for Ital­ians

The Rugby Paper - - Autumn Internationals - ■ By GE­ORGE LAWRENCE

ITALY got their Novem­ber Test se­ries off to a win­ning start with a 19-10 vic­tory over Fiji in Si­cily with debu­tant Ian McKin­ley kick­ing the fi­nal penalty to en­sure vic­tory.

The for­mer Ire­land U20 player – wear­ing spe­cially man­u­fac­tured gog­gles af­ter he was blinded in his left eye by a team­mate’s stud eight years ago – came on as a sub­sti­tute on 62 min­utes to close the match with a penalty kick.

Carlo Canna scored 11 points as Italy ended a se­ries of nine con­sec­u­tive de­feats go­ing back to their stun­ning win over South Africa in Novem­ber 2016.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to win matches of this level and it’s hard to take ad­van­tage of the chances when you’re not used to win­ning,” said O’Shea.

Italy dom­i­nated early with Benet­ton prop Si­mone Fer­rari touch­ing down af­ter 28 min­utes with Ze­bre fly-half Canna con­vert­ing.

Leone Nakarawa pulled Fiji level 10-10 at the break with a try fol­low­ing a tack­ling er­ror by Italy cap­tain Ser­gio Parisse. Ben Volavola con­verted and added a penalty to com­plet­ing the vis­i­tors’ score­line.

Then 27-year-old for­mer Le­in­ster fly-half McKin­ley, now play­ing for Tre­viso, stepped up to seal vic­tory for his adopted coun­try.

Parisse said: “We got our­selves into trouble in the first half by giv­ing them the 10-10, my fault too for a bad tackle.

“I’m proud of the guys. It’s a good start even if it wasn’t per­fect. This vic­tory gives us seren­ity to work to­wards the next two matches.”

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