Italy secured a 52-8 bonus-point win against Pool A opponents Namibia at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne on Saturday.
Back-row forward Lorenzo Cannone scored the first of their seven tries after Namibian hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld was shown a yellow card. Fly-half Paolo Garbisi also went over and a penalty from full-back Tommaso Allan gave Italy a 17-8 half-time lead, with Gerswin Mouton having crossed for Namibia.
Italy dominated the scoreboard in the second half with tries from second-row Dino Lamb, wing Ange Capuozzo, hooker Hame Faiva, back-row Manuel Zuliani and centre Paolo Odogwu.
“It was extremely important for this young team to have both forwards and backs scoring tries,” said Cannone, Mastercard Player of the Match.
“Winning was very important. It was the best way to get some confidence.”
I would have taken 50 points - Crowley
While pleased with the victory, Italy head coach Kieran Crowley was keen to put the win in perspective.
"If you'd given me 50 points before the game I would have grabbed them. But we turned over about 22 balls and you can't afford to do that.
“But it was pretty hot out there and the boys are pretty gassed so we'll take it and we'll move on."
Johan Deysel, Namibia’s captain, felt his team-mates had given plenty of effort against “a quality side” but accepted they were beaten by a better team on the day.
"We didn't always get the ball we wanted - we got scrappy ball,” said the centre.
“We didn't execute what we planned every time and we were put under the pump in the set phases, the mauls and the scrums. They have heaps of experience. It's a great game to learn from."