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Scotland, Italy in 30-30 draw at World Cup

Ben Hellewell's second try gave Scotland a creditable draw against Italy in their Rugby League World Cup encounter at Derwent Park.
Scotland, Italy in 30-30 draw at World Cup
by AAP

By David Charlesworth

WORKINGTON, Nov 3 PA - Ben Hellewell's second try gave Scotland a creditable draw against Italy in their Rugby League World Cup encounter at Derwent Park.

Five days earlier, the Scots had edged out Tonga 26-24 in Workington and on Sunday they were given another stern test of their credentials by Group C rivals Italy, who defeated Wales in their opening match of the tournament.

The Danny Brough-inspired Bravehearts appeared to be on course for another victory after taking a 14-0 lead but Italy came roaring back.

Steve McCormack's men kept their noses in front up until the hour mark in front of a 7,280 pro-Scotland crowd, but they looked increasingly jaded in the second half and Italy took advantage to move into a 30-26 lead.

But the Azzurri were hit on the break and Hellewell grounded in the right corner to earn Scotland a deserved point that could prove crucial to their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

In contrast to the second half, scoring chances were few and far between in a cagey opening stanza and perhaps sensing that opportunities would be at a premium, Brough opted to take the two points on offer after a late challenge on Scotland's Penrith-bound halfback Peter Wallace.

He need not have worried as two tries in the space of five minutes put McCormack's men firmly in the ascendancy.

First, Matthew Russell, Scotland's two-try hero on Tuesday night, slipped out of a tackle before crashing over and although there was uncertainty over whether he had grounded the ball, the fullback was given the benefit of the doubt by the video referee.

There was an element of fortune in Scotland's second try as Brough's grubber wrong-footed Italy wing Josh Mantellato, which allowed Kane Linnett to scoop up the loose ball and cross in the left corner.

The influential Brough converted both tries to give the Bravehearts a 14-0 lead, but Italy fought back like they did against Wales.

Cameron Ciraldo and Ray Nasso grabbed tries, with Newcastle Knights' Mantellato adding his second conversion to cut the deficit to 14-12 at halftime.

After a see-sawing second half, Italy looked the stronger team and they took the lead for the first time when captain Anthony Minichiello dived over on the right.

Scotland refused to give in and Hellewell took advantage of an Azurri defence that were at sixes and sevens.

But Brough missed his first conversion of the game and at 30-30 with 10 minutes remaining, a grandstand finish was assured.

The Huddersfield five-eighth then failed with a drop goal attempt in the final 90 seconds, while Ryan Ghietti did likewise at the other end as the spoils were shared.

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