Australia maintain their perfect record in Italy after winning in Florence
Last Updated: 24/11/12 11:27pm
Australia survived a second-half fightback to maintain their perfect record against Italy with a 22-19 success in Florence on Saturday afternoon.
The Wallabies had looked to be coasting after Nick Cummins' second try in as many weeks helped them into a 22-3 half-time lead.
But Robbie Deans' men ground to a halt after the interval as the Azzurri sensed a first-ever win against their southern hemisphere rivals.
Robert Barbieri dived over for a converted try two minutes after the re-start before a pair of Luciano Orquera penalties drew them to within three points with 25 minutes remaining.
But, despite some torrid play from the Wallabies, they held on to grab back-to-back wins on their European tour after success at Twickenham against England last weekend.
Italy dominated the scrums, but struggled to pose any threat to the visitors in an error strewn first-half which the Wallabies bossed.
An Orquera penalty gave Italy a 3-0 lead in the third minute but a Barnes penalty soon after had Australia level.
Barnes kicked another penalty on the quarter hour and Italy were made to pay for slack defence when Cummins ran in for Australia's only try of the match on 18 minutes. Barnes kicked the conversion and followed up with a penalty in the 24th minute.
Despite their best attempts Italy were struggling to get out of their own half and fell further behind when Kurtley Beale kicked a penalty and then followed up with a second when Barbieri was shown a yellow card.
An Orquera penalty minutes before the end of the first half brought the scores to 6-22 but to their credit Italy emerged with intent for the second period.
Only a minute after the restart Barbieri claimed the Azzurri's try when he ran into the in-goal area to touch down after the ball had been kicked through, with Orquera converting.
When Orquera kicked a penalty to take the scores to 16-22, the fight back was on.
The confidence did wonders for Italy, who while still dominating at the scrum, had the Wallabies pinned back as they began finally to create promising passing sequences.
Italy had Australia pinned mostly in their own half, until Ashley-Cooper's moment of near glory for the visitors, who held on for a win which they will remember for a long time.