Mattia Bellini has been ruled out injured as Italy prepare for their final Test of the November series against world champions New Zealand in Rome amid frustration at having two tries disallowed in their weekend loss to Australia.
Zebre wing Bellini, 24, scored Italy’s only try in the 26-7 defeat to the Wallabies in Padua on Saturday before going off with a right shoulder injury. Italy next take on New Zealand, who lost to Ireland 16-9 in Dublin, in the Stadio Olimpico next Saturday.
The Italians had two tries disallowed in the first 15 minutes, with no. 8 Abraham Steyn pushed into touch and then halfback Tito Tebaldi ruled offside.
“(Coach) Conor (O’Shea) often tells us that there are moments that can change the course of games,” stand-in captain Leonardo Ghiraldini said on Sunday.
“Tito’s try and our lack of precision in the offensive recovery could have changed the final result.”
O’Shea said he was “angry” about the decision after his side fell to their 18th defeat to the Wallabies in as many games.
“You have to be very careful at choosing your words because my wife would be pretty annoyed if I got fined,” he said post match.
“We don’t have that sort of money leading into Christmas.”
O’Shea recalled another call by French referee Pascal Gauzere in his side’s close defeat to Scotland in the Six Nations.
“I just want the same rules for both teams and I can’t remember the score in the Six Nations game (against Scotland) when the TMO (television match official) and Pascal couldn’t decide on a try that would’ve put it out of reach.
“Today they didn’t go to the TMO and it’s a try. It doesn’t change the result. We just want consistency at the breakdown, so it’s not one rule for one and another for another.
“The players are pretty destroyed but for the life of me why you don’t go upstairs when it’s there is just beyond belief.”
Captain Sergio Parisse is still nursing a calf injury and will miss the All Blacks game, with Marco Lazzaroni committed to club side Treviso’s Pro14 trip to South African side Cheetahs next weekend. Italy lost 54-7 to Six Nations champions Ireland in Chicago earlier this month before beating Georgia 28-17 in Florence.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)