Two of last weeks losing sides met in the first of the double-header at the Townsville Stadium. A win would keep their hopes of progress to the semi-finals alive but a loss would signal elimination from the competition after next weeks final game.
Coaches Ciraldo and McDermott both made a handful of changes to their losing sides but the bookies had made Italy, shock losers against Ireland, as firm favourites to take the spoils.
There was some good early pressure from the USA but on six minutes a knocked back high kick from Josh Mantellato was picked up and juggled by Joseph Tromontana to score one handed. Mantellato kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
James Tedesco took a Tromontana pass ten from the USA line to jink past the defence and score the Italians second. Mantellato was accurate with the boot for 12-0. On eighteen Mark Minichiello span out of a tackle and was able to find Mantellato on the wing and the overlap to score in the corner. The big winger was unable to convert his own try but Italy were taking their changes while the USA were coughing up the ball far too easily.
On twenty-four Ryan Ghietti played the one-two with Mantellato and had a walk in try when he took the return pass. Mantellato added the conversion for 22-0 with Italy already pulling we’ll clear if the USA.
The last scoring action of the half came on thirty-six when Tromontana grabbed his second under the sticks after Mantellato had again done all the hard work. Mantellato added the conversion for a 28-0 half time lead.
Three minutes were on the second half clock when Tedesco got his second of the game and when Mantellato drilled the conversion between the uprights his side had a 34-0 lead.
A super run by a Tedesco saw him close on fifty-one but when he should have used a supporting runner to score he took the tackle and the attack broke down.
Just before the hour and Paul Vaughan was the beneficiary of an Italian four on one to take a Tromontana try and walk in a simple try. Mantellato kicked the two for 40-0.
Mason Cerruto grabbed Italy’s eighth and last try of the game on seventy-two when he picked up a USA kick through on his own twenty and ran eighty metres to the try line to score under the sticks. Mantellato kicked his seventh goal of the game for a final scoreline of 46-0.
There were some superb performances from azzurri players with Montellato, Tromontana, Tedesco and Minichiello torturing the USA side with fast hands and feet. This was the Italy that failed to show up against Ireland a week ago but which were here in buckets for what turned out to be a simple victory over a side who scored an ‘A’ for effort but an ‘F’ for attainment. Italy play a massive game against Fiji next Friday night while the USA will probably now be dreading their final game of the competition against PNG.
Italy: Cerruto (T), Centrone, Castellaro, Milone, Mantellato (T, 7G), Tedesco (2T), Ghietti (T), Vaughan (T), Tromontana (2T), Alvaro, Walker, Minichiello, Brown. Subs: Santi, Wakeman, Celerino, Reithmuller.
USA: Makelim, Burroughs, Vaivai, Rice, Faraimo, Freed, Samoa, Pettybourne, Marando, Offerdahl, S. Howard, Shipway, Fairly. Subs: Ulch, Cortalo, Malu, Tochtermann-Talbott.
Referee: Ashley Klein.