FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) – Italy boosted their case for continued inclusion in the Six Nations on Saturday with a 28-17 win over Georgia, the team often cited as having better credentials.
Italy scored four tries, including one by Tommaso Allan who also kicked two penalties and a conversion, in the first meeting of the sides since 2003.
The game was seen as an unofficial test of Italy’s right to stay in the Six Nations, where they have not won a match since 2015 and have finished bottom for the last three seasons.
Georgia have won the Europe International Championships — effectively a second-tier event — for eight of the last 10 seasons but there is no promotion and relegation between the two competitions.
After Allan converted an early penalty, a stunning solo try from Georgia’s Tamaz Mchedlidze and a Soso Matiashvili conversion gave the visitors an early 7-3 lead.
But tries by Michele Campagnaro and Mattia Bellini, with an Allan penalty in between, gave Italy an 18-7 halftime advantage.
Italy increased their lead with further tries by Simone Ferrari and Allan. Matiashvili converted a penalty in between and Georgia reduced the arrears with a penalty try.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)