By Phil Caplan, Date: 8/7/12

EUROPEAN SHIELD 2012-13, GAME 4 – Italy 72 Germany 10

Italy head the standings in the tightly congested European Shield after an irresistible twelve-try rout of Germany in Piacenza that leaves all four competing nations on two points.

“We can’t get too carried away,” said a clearly satisfied Italy coach, Paul Broadbent. “We reviewed the Serbia game, fixed up the areas we weren’t good enough in and the guys really took on board the things we said we wanted to try and improve.”

Eleven different try-scorers illustrated a total team performance from the Azzurri which overwhelmed the Germans from the opening set of six, which ended in second rower Davide Rancati’s try.

That it was going to be a long day for the Germans, and one made more uncomfortable by the unforgiving Italian summer sun, was evident from the earliest exchanges.

In the opening eleven minutes the visitors were starved of possession, incredibly playing the ball only once. In that time they were already 18-0 down as the Italians adroitly carved them open around the ruck.

When the Germans did manage to mount their first attack, a dropped ball led to Italy’s debutant prop Nourou Bance racing 80-metres downfield, only to be brought down inches from the line after an outstanding chase by German winger Mawuli Amefia. A forward pass on the next play saved the visitors from further punishment.

Germany centre Nick Keinhorst closed the gap to 18-4 on 18 minutes but the Italians were too well drilled and motivated to allow the visitors back into the match, and three more tries in a lightning five-minute spell put the result beyond doubt.

Scrum half Remi Fontana grabbed a double and the best of the touchdowns saw South Wales Scorpions loose forward Chris Vitalini cleverly put him through a gap as the half ended 42-4.

Stand-off Gert Peens bagged a total of 24-points, with a perfect ten goals from as many attempts and a try, while Fontana chipped in with two goals to cap an influential day in midfield.

“We started really well which gave us a lot of confidence and it was a really credible performance,” continued Broadbent. “Tactically, we tried to move them away from playing sideways and get them playing forward. We wanted them to use little short passes, and play at the line in numbers, and I think we did that brilliantly today.”

Downbeat Germany coach Dan Stocks was barely able to mask his frustration after the capitulation. “I’m disappointed, obviously, especially by the manner which we lost,” he said. The previous two games saw us play some really good rugby league and today we moved away from the plan and didn’t do what we were supposed to.”

“A few people questioned whether Germany could play at this level and said we’d lose by blow-out scores in every match. Yes, this was a big score, but we’ve won one and were competitive with Russia so overall I’m pretty happy with the way 2012 went and looking forward to getting back into the competition next year.”

Italy and Serbia both travel to Russia in September to complete the first half of the biennial competition.


TRIES : Rancati (1), Barani (5), Marchesi (19), Fontana (24,29), De Mayer (27), Peens (39), Cardella (42), Prizzon (57), Alfonsi (62), Muyodi (67), Ciaurro (76)

GOALS : Peens 10/10, Fontana 2/2


TRIES : N. Keinhorst (18), Lortz (70)

GOALS : McLean 1/2

Fabrizio Ciaurro, Drake Muyodi, Rodrigo Marchesi, Ivan Barani, Giacomo Alfonsi, Gert Peens, Remi Fontana, Cedric Prizzon, Mario Marcinczak, Nourou Bance, Davide Rancati, Giovanni Franchi, Chris Vitalini. Subs: Fabio Berzieri, Thomas Piscitelli, Chris De Mayer, Stefano Cardella

Christoph Huber, Mawuli Amefia, Daniel Lortz, Nick Keinhorst, Ali Surer, Andy McLean, Kristian Keinhorst, Ben Behr-Heyder, Joshua Danzey, Fabrice Fehlmann, Sebastian Roczyn, Jerome Himmer, Florian Stockert. Subs: Markus Bender, Vincent Speiss, Liam Doughton, Dan Stocks