November 11, 2017 / 5:05 PM / 8 months ago

Rugby-McKinley makes history as Italy stop rot against Fiji

(Reuters) - Italy ended a nine-match losing streak with a hard-fought 19-10 victory over Fiji in Catania on Saturday as their Irish-born flyhalf, Ian McKinley, became the first man to play in international rugby in specially manufactured goggles.

The 27-year-old lost the sight in his left eye in an on-pitch incident seven years ago but recovered to return to the game and qualify for Italy through residency after joining Italian side Benetton.

McKinley came off the bench as a 61st-minute replacement for Carlo Canna and kicked a penalty to help edge Italy to victory. Canna had earlier struck three penalties and converted Simone Ferrari’s early try.

The visitors, for whom Ben Volavola kicked a penalty, went in level at 10-10 at halftime through Leone Nakarawa’s converted try, but Conor O’Shea’s side edged ahead after the interval to avenge their summer defeat by the Fijians.

(This version of the story refiles to fix lit in the first paragraph.)

Reporting by Neil Robinson,; Editing by Neville Dalton

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