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Wallabies squeeze narrow 3 point win over Italy

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The Qantas Wallabies have held off an inspired Italy to escape with a narrow three-point victory in Florence. The visitors made all the running in the first half going into the break leading by 16-points, however it was a very different story in the second half with the home side scoring 13-points to nothing nearly snatch victory in the dying stages.

The Italians came out firing in the second half and made the best possible start, capitalising on some sloppy play by the Qantas Wallabies. Italy flanker, Robert Barbieri, pounced on a loose pass to cross for his sides first try of the match in the 41st minute, cutting the Qantas Wallabies lead to just 11-points. When Italy fly half, Luciano Oquera added the extras the visitors lead was just nine-points.

The Italians continued to apply pressure on the Qantas Wallabies through the weight of possession and in the 50th minute cut their lead by a further three points thanks to a penalty goal to fly half, Luciano Oquera.

Five minutes later and the Qantas Wallabies lead was just three, after the trusty boot of Oquera kicked his fourth penalty goal of the Test.

With 25 minutes left on the clock the Italians continued to apply pressure on the Australians and despite a number of forays inside the visitors 22 failed to add any additional points.

Unable to gain any momentum the Qantas Wallabies struggled to vacate their own half and with just one minute left on the clock the Italians secured a penalty 40 metres out in the middle of the field.

With the opportunity to tie the match at 22-points apiece, Orquera stepped up to take the penalty goal, however for the first time in the match his trusty boot pushed it wide, allowing the Qantas Wallabies to relieve the pressure.

As the clock wound down the Australians won the ball back and after one last thrust at the Italians line kicked the ball dead to record a nail-biting 22-19 victory taking their Spring Tour record to two wins and one loss with one game remaining.

While the second half will be 40 minutes to forget for the Qantas Wallabies the first half was certainly the opposite with the tourists securing five penalty goals and a converted try in the opening 40 minutes.

The Italians were the first to trouble the scoreboard in the fifth minute when fly half, Luciano Orquera, kicked truly for his sides first of two opening half penalty goals. The Qantas Wallabies hit straight back two minutes later through the boot of fullback, Berrick Barnes. The Australians went further ahead in the 16th minute thanks again to the boot of Barnes who kicked his second penalty goal for the half after some tough work by the forwards.

Three minutes later after a sensational chase by Qantas Wallabies flanker, Michael Hooper, the Australians spun the ball wide and provided winger, Nick Cummins with his second Test try in as many matches. Barnes added the extras and extended the Qantas Wallabies lead to 10-points.

In the 25th minute the Qantas Wallabies added a further three points from the boot of Barnes, which was quickly followed by another three points just two minutes later thanks to fly half, Kurtley Beale's first penalty goal of the half.

Beale added another three points five minutes later to give the Australians even more breathing space, stretching the score to 22-3. The Italians weren't to be denied and after building pressure on the Australian defence finally secured the second penalty goal of the half in the 34th minute.

The Qantas Wallabies will now head to Millennium Stadium where they'll meet Wales next Saturday to wrap up their 2012 Spring Tour.

Full Time: Italy 19 – Australia 22