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Australia marched on to the quarterfinals with a 66-6 defeat of Italy on Sunday morning (AEDT), with both Daly Cherry-Evans and Nathan Cleary impressing in their first Test together.

The pair have now had a game each alongside first-choice five-eighth Cameron Munster, and one together, as they continue to battle for the role of first-choice halfback in Mal Meninga's side. 

Cherry-Evans helped Australia's left edge fire against the Azzuri, playing a role in six tries, with four assists, while Cleary set up three tries in the win and laid on four line breaks for teammates. 

Italy, to their credit, chanced their arm against the world champions on a number of occasions and had moments of admirable defence, but couldn't string it together consistently.

'Special moment' for Tedesco facing Italy

Lebanon now shape as Australia's likely opponent in waiting come quarterfinal time. 

Match Snapshot 

  • Campbell Graham scored a double to make it five tries in two Tests for the Kangaroos. 
  • Jeremiah Nanai, Cameron Murray and Liam Martin all performed well in the starting pack, while Titans big man Tino Fa'asuamaleaui contributed 126 metres off the bench.
  • Australia skipper James Tedesco was rested for the final half hour of the match, at which point he already had 183 metres gained, seven tackle breaks and a try. 
  • Cowboys and Maroons stars accounted for the first two tries, with Valentine Holmes leaping high to claim a Daly Cherry-Evans kick for the first, before Murray Taulagi went over out wide. 
  • Former Italy captain James Tedesco was next to go over, with Nathan Cleary converting, following a pair of earlier missed attempts. 
  • Further tries to South Sydney duo Campbell Graham and Latrell Mitchell, and a second for Taulagi, rounded out the first-half scoring and gave the Kangaroos a 30-0 lead at the break. 
  • Penrith forwards Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin scored inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
  • Ronny Palumbo got over for Italy on 53 minutes off a clever kick from Radean Robinson.

Ronny Palumbo for Italy!

  • Cameron Murray then scored, followed by Graham's second.
  • Jeremiah Nanai's four-pointer and a late Lindsay Collins try finished the scoring for Australia. 

Play of the Game 

A trademark run from the Kangaroos skipper up the middle of the park, including a nice dummy, saw James Tedesco hit open space, before linking with Daly Cherry-Evans in support, who found Isaah Yeo for the finish. 

Tedesco from halfway and Yeo goes over

What They Said

"First of all I want to compliment Italy on the way they played. I thought we hung in there really well. I thought we played with a fair bit of composure, and we got the job done." - Australia coach Mal Meninga.  

"Whatever turned out score-wise, we didn't want to dodge any of the collision out there. We wanted contact with bodies all night as best we could and I thought we achieved that. [Errors] probably let us down a little bit, probably had 4-5 of their tries come off the back of our errors and we should have done a bit better there." - Italy coach Leo Epifania

What's Next 

After a dominant opening three games, Australia move on to the quarterfinals and look set to face Lebanon up next. Italy meanwhile have fallen short of qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time, but will look back on some good moments at the tournament, including a 28-4 first-up win over Scotland. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.