The Latest: Italy leads 21-7 after conceding early try
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Italy conceded an early try to go behind and wasted three scoring chances but still managed to turn a glut of possession and territory into a 21-7 halftime lead against Namibia in the Pool B game at Osaka.
Scrumhalf Damian Stevens dived over in the 6th minute for a surprising lead after Italy lost a lineout throw and failed to cover the inside runners when Namibia spread the ball wide to the right wing. Cliven Loubser converted to make it 7-0.
The Italian forwards were dominating at the set piece and were awarded a penalty try in the 11th minute to level the score.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse, playing in his fifth Rugby World Cup, had chances to score but was unable to touch down. He knocked the ball forward in a tackle at close range, he dived over from the base of a scrum but was called back because a penalty had already been awarded, and then he crashed into referee Nic Berry from the resulting scrum and the movement was stopped.
Italy fullback Jayden Hayward was unable to gather a low pass from Tommaso Allan with the tryline open. Allan made amends in the 26th when he burst onto a pass and crashed off the upright to score under the posts after a swerving, surging run from center Luca Morisi.
Scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi scored just before halftime, darting down the left flank and diving over after receiving an improbable no-look pass from lock Federico Ruzza.
The heavy tackles and bullocking runs in the Australia-Fiji game reverberated across the Pacific. Fiji got away to a flyer and led by as many as nine points against the two-time World Cup champions before Australia rallied to win by six tries to two.
There's some strong connections between the teams, with three Fiji-born players in the Australian XV, and an Australian-born flyhalf and head coach working with Fiji.
Samu Kerevi was born in Fiji but became a professional player in Australia and a star for the Wallabies and the Queensland Reds. His family back in Fiji was torn between wanting Kerevi to do well in Saturday's game, but wanting Fiji to produce a big upset win.
"I got a video from home. I was really worried the house was going to come down, the walls were banging, my grandmother (was) hitting the walls," Kerevi told reporters. "It really put into perspective what a game of rugby can do for a small nation like Fiji.
"It was an emotional week, the first time playing my home nation (and) knowing who was at home and who was watching. I am just really proud of where I am from, really proud of my background and my culture."
Kerevi is now preparing for next Sunday's Pool D game against Six Nations champion Wales. Fiji has to regroup quickly for a game against Uruguay on Wednesday.
Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup has a Six Nations flavor, with top-ranked Ireland playing Scotland in Yokohama and Italy and England opening their campaigns before and after that game.
Italy kicks off the action Sunday in a Pool B game at Osaka against Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 23. Italy captain Sergio Parisse is set to start in his fifth World Cup, joining former teammate Mauro Bergamasco and Samoa's Brian Lima in a select group to have achieved that.
Defending champion New Zealand beat South Africa 23-13 in a blockbuster to open Pool B on Saturday night.
Ireland and Scotland are in Pool A with host Japan, which beat Russia in the tournament's opening match, and Samoa.
The England-Tonga Pool C game will conclude play on a busy opening weekend in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.