Rugby-Australia's Elsom sees funny side after win over Italy

Reuters

Sat, 20 Nov 18:20:00 2010

Australia captain Rocky Elsom laughed off the dubious quality of his scrambled, late try, and his team's struggles with their national anthem, after Saturday's 32-14 win over Italy banished memories of last weekend's defeat by England.

"I think it was an exceptional try," Elsom joked to a news conference after scoring from a bungled Italy scrum.

The irony of Italy conceding the late try from their own scrum, where they had been dominant throughout, was not lost on Elsom as the Wallabies prepare for their final November international in France next Saturday.

"It's a test match and we were very happy with the win however it came," the flanker said. "Their strength is in the pack and the backs didn't get a lot out of us."

Elsom struggled to keep a straight face after his side were lost for words before kick off when a rarely-heard second verse of their anthem was played.

"Had we known it would have been played we would have learnt it," he said.

Italy coach Nick Mallett said he was happy that he had picked debutant Edoardo Gori at scrumhalf despite the 20-year-old not being a regular for new Celtic League side Treviso.

The gamble paid off with a strong performance alongside returning flyhalf Luciano Orquera.

"It was definitely a risk but I know the players well and I saw in this person a mature player. Gori was absolutely outstanding. Luciano had a good game too and that makes the difference," the South African said.

"Italy never gave up and worked really hard. If we didn't have that desire we could have conceded three tries in the first half," the coach added before being asked how far Italy were behind Scotland, surprise victors over South Africa on Saturday.

"There is not a big gap. We need a little bit more experience and luck."

Italy meet Fiji in Modena in their final match of the year next weekend before the 2011 Six Nations and World Cup.

 

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