Rugby-Muzzo double earns Italy opening win over United States

(Reuters) – Aura Muzzo scored a pair of tries as Italy fought back from an early deficit to pick up a bonus point in a 22-10 win over the United States in their opening Pool B clash at the women’s Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

Hallie Taufoou’s fourth-minute try gave the Americans an early advantage in Whangarei in New Zealand, but Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi crossed for Italy before Muzzo’s double and a superb solo effort from Maria Magatti secured victory.

Italy’s pack had been weakened by the early loss to injury of Ilaria Arrighetti and the United States took advantage, outmuscling the Italians in the scrum, and Taufoou’s try gave the Americans the lead.

But for all their dominance, the Americans were unable to add to their first half tally and two minutes before the break Italy took the lead.

Francesca Sgorbini burst through the American defensive line before the ball was eventually moved out to the right for Minuzzi to score in the corner.

Eleven minutes after the restart, Muzzo latched onto Beatrice Rigoni’s drilled to give Italy a 12-5 lead.

Jenny Kronish pulled a try back for the Americans following Minuzzi’s yellow card, but Rigoni provided for Muzzo again in the 63rd minute to restore the Italian advantage.

Magatti then put the seal on the win in emphatic fashion 10 minutes from time with a 40 metre cross-field sprint to score in the corner.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by William Mallard)

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