Viral rant proves inspirational as Wallabies hold on to beat Italy


A viral rant from one Australian fan proved to be the perfect tonic as the Wallabies returned to winning ways in unconvincing fashion with a 40-27 victory against Italy in Brisbane on Saturday.

Australia were sensationally beaten by Scotland last week, a result that sparked widespread criticism and particularly irked one fan, who took to social media to express his anger at the loss.

The Facebook post to the Wallabies gained worldwide attention and led to a telephone conversation between the supporter and Australia head coach Michael Cheika, who responded to questions regarding his team's passion when representing their country.

Stung by the criticism, Australia let their rugby do the talking thanks to Israel Folau and Sefa Naivalu, although it was far from smooth sailing at Suncorp Stadium.

With Australia sometimes sloppy in possession and out of sorts in the second half, Italy capitalised as Michele Campagnaro, Edoardo Padovani and Tommaso Benvenuti crossed over to make it a one-point game but the Wallabies finished strongly to avoid another upset.

Italy made a strong start and thought they had the game's opening try after Tommaso Allan's penalty, but the TMO ruled Giovanbattista Venditti was in touch with his finger still on the ball as he offloaded to Dean Budd.

The reprieve kicked Australia into gear and the hosts took advantage with quick-fire tries from Naivalu and Folau.

Naivalu burst down the wing for his third Test try in the 14th minute before Folau snuck in out wide to give the Wallabies a 14-3 lead. 

Italy cut the deficit with another Allan penalty and, though Karmichael Hunt fed Folau for his second with a fine pass, the visitors went in to the break just 21-13 down thanks to Campagnaro,

The Wallabies emerged from the tunnel on the front foot and Naivalu completed his double after Hunt picked him out on the flank.

But it was one-way traffic from that point as Italy controlled possession and tempo, trimming a 15-point deficit to one with 13 minutes remaining.

Two tries within four minutes from Padovani and Benvenuti reduced Australia's lead to 28-27 and silenced the home crowd, who were left sitting on the edge of their seats when Toby Smith was sent to the bin after repeated scrum collapses.

However, Italy also ended the match with 14 men and they were unable to maintain their charge, Bernard Foley and Reece Hodge going over late to make sure of success for the Wallabies.