Late Pumas charge sees off Italy

Conor O'Shea (Getty Images)
Conor O'Shea (Getty Images)

Florence - Argentina scored 17 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes on Saturday to beat Italy 31-15 in an autumn international in Florence.

In a match in which the lead changed hands nine times, all the home team's points came from the boot while the Pumas scored three tries as they won for the seventh straight game against Italy.

Italian coach Conor O'Shea kept the team that has beaten Fiji the previous week, but was unable to end a winless run against Argentina that stretches back to 2008.

Argentina were forced into a change after 10 minutes as Juan Martin Martinez briefly came on for Nicolas Sanchez at fly half. Within a minute Italy strayed offside and Martinez kicked the penalty.

A minute later Carlo Canna replied for Italy and then put the hosts ahead after 20 minutes.

Winger Sebastian Cancelliere stretched over to put Argentina ahead after 26 minutes. Sanchez, back on the field, missed the conversion which allowed Canna restored Italy's lead before the half.

The lead switched back and forth early in the second half as Sanchez kicked three more penalties for Argentina split by a penalty by Canna and a drop goal by Marcello Violi for Italy.

With 12 minutes to go, Marcos Kremer picked up from the back of a maul, brushed aside a tackle and strolled across the Italian line for a try. Sanchez converted to put Argentina nine points ahead and when fullback Joaquin Tuculet scampered over with four minutes the Pumas were sure of a comfortable victory.

"The game was close, point for point, until the 60th minute when in the key moment we were not disciplined enough," Sergio Parisse, the Italian captain, told Eurosport Italy after the game.

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