Match-sealer: Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco puts the result beyond doubt

PARIS, 19 September - Italy defeated Portugal 31-5 in their Pool C match at Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday to record their second win of the IRB Rugby World Cup.

Scoring three tries to one, it was by no means an easy victory for the Azzurri with Portugal demonstrating plenty of muscle up front and some enterprising play out wide.

Fullback David Bortolussi's boot proved valuable, with four penalties and one conversion for a personal tally of 16 points as Italy recorded their biggest-ever RWC victory.

Trailing 16-5 at the break, Portugal looked the more promising in the first 20 minutes of the second stanza, their forward pack more than matching their more fancied opponents at the breakdown.

Neither side were able to break the other's line as the contest was kept close to the ruck. It was up to Bortolussi to open the account after the break with his fourth penalty, giving his side a comfortable 19-5 lead.

Flanker Mauro Bergamasco then put the result beyond doubt in the 72nd minute with a pushover try to make it 24-5 before Bortolussi missed with his only blemish of the match.

A late converted try to centre Andrea Masi, his second of the match, extended the winning margin to 26.

With scrum half Alessandro Troncon playing his 100th international, Italy enjoyed much of the possession in the first half but failed to capitalise on several scoring opportunities. Portugal also failed to take advantage of an extra man with Italy skipper Marco Bortolami yellow carded in the 7th minute.

Masi scored his first try in the 3rd minute, following some good lead up work by his forwards, and three penalties and a conversion to Bortolussi gave the Azzurri their eleven-point halftime lead. Portugal's try came from second row David Penalva.

Portugal meets Romania in their next match while Italy take on Scotland.

RNS md/djp