Rugby

Ireland U20s Come Back From 11 Down For Bonus Point Win Over Italy

Ireland U20s Come Back From 11 Down For Bonus Point Win Over Italy

The Ireland U20s came back from 11 points down at half-time to beat Italy, and pick up another bonus point victory in the Six Nations on Wednesday.

The 30-23 win was Ireland's third of the tournament, and eased the woes of last Thursday's defeat to England. It also maintains a small chance that Richie Murphy's side could win the competition.

Ireland opened the scoring after just three minutes, with hooker Eoin de Buitléar driving over from a lineout maul. That lead was short-lived. Simone Gesi took advantage after a chip over the top of the Italian defence from James Humphreys was blocked down, and the winger ran in his side's first try.

With nine minutes gone, Ireland centre Jude Postlethwaite was yellow carded for a high tackle. Italy exploited the situation, going over for two tries - the first from hooker Tommaso Di Bartolomeo and the second from out-half Leonardo Marin - while Ireland were down to 14 players. In between the two Italian tries, loosehead George Saunderson powered over from close range for Ireland's second five-pointer.

After that manic opening 20 minutes, which saw five tries scored, the game entered a more sedate period. Leonardo Marin kicked two penalties for Italy - the second from just inside the Ireland half - as his side took a 23-12 lead into the break. That penalty would be Italy's last score of the game as Ireland kept them scoreless in the second half.

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After utilising their bench early, Ireland emerged from the break playing far better attacking rugby. Captain Alex Kendellen - who really dragged his side back into the game - went over from close range, and Nathan Doak added the extras, closing the gap to four points.

With Italy having Luca Andreani in the sin bin, the Ulster scrum-half made another kick in the 51st minute, reducing the Italians' lead to the minimum.

Ireland secured a bonus point, and took a 27-23 lead, in the 55th minute when Kendellen touched down for his second try. Doak kicked the final score of the game in the 80th minute with a penalty in front of the posts.

Analysis: Lots For Ireland U20s To Build On Despite Disappointing Defeat To England

ireland u20 vs italy 2021 six nations

PJ Browne
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