Italy scores try in final minute to defeat Niue 36–32
The rugby league test match between the Italian Azzurri and the tiny Pacific island team of Niue was held on Saturday, October 27, at Marconi Stadium, in Bossley Park. Italy and Niue were head-to-head for the game’s duration, but Italy scored on the hooter to come away with the win. Niue Rugby League thanked Italy for the “tough, grinding game”, and said that to play the world-ranked team was one of their highest achievements to date. “It was a very physical game for the boys, leading the whole game only to go down in the last seconds,” Niue Rugby League said. The team had only five days notice before the game went ahead, as Samoa unexpectedly dropped out in the lead up to the international test. Italy is currently ranked 13th in the world, while Niue sits at 34th. Niue participated in the Emerging Nations World Cup in early October, making it to the grand final and losing 24-16 to Malta to come away with a well-deserved second place. The island country sits in the South Pacific Ocean, 2400 kilometres north-east of New Zealand, and with a population of around 1700. It is one of the smallest countries in the world. Italy’s campaign to participate in the 2021 World Cup continues, with the team going from strength to strength, having recently defeated the South African Rhinos 18-8 in an exciting clash.