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Italy beats Russia 85-15 in Rugby World Cup warmup

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (AP) Italy achieved its second highest score when it beat Russia 85-15 in a Rugby World Cup warmup test on Saturday.

The 85 was Italy's highest score in 13 years. The highest was 104 against the Czech Republic in 1994.

In its last home match before the World Cup in Japan next month, Italy promised to respect Russia and showed off its running game as 11 of the 13 tries went to backs.

Left wing Matteo Minozzi became the first Italian in 12 years to score a hat trick of tries. Fellow wing Mattia Bellini added two tries in three minutes midway through the first half and fullback Jayden Hayward one to finish the first half 38-8 up. Hayward's replcement, Edoardo Padovani, added two tries.

Long before halftime, Italy had in hand the end of an eight-test losing streak, and its first win since November when it beat Georgia, another World Cup-bound team.

The win was only Italy's fourth in 30 tests going back almost three years.

Flanker Jake Polledri was man of the match, and set up a try for captain Sergio Parisse, whose 139th test equaled George Gregan for third on the all-time caps list.

Italy lost to Ireland in Dublin last weekend to begin its warmup program, with France and England to come.


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Updated August 17, 2019