Scotland will play their fourth and fifth-round matches of the Rugby World under-20 Championship among the fifth to eighth ranked countries after securing a narrow win over Italy in the third and last matches of Pool B in Georgia’s second city of Kutaisi to finish second in their group.
The Scots had a slight chance of reaching the semi finals but their failure to score a bonus point and unfavourable results elsewhere made this impossible. In the event Scotland would be happy to come away with a win after being pressed all the way by a talented Italy team
The Azzurrini came into this match on the back of a win over Ireland and having created a talking point by scoring four tries against the all conquering Baby Blacks. “This is easily the best Italian team I’ve seen for years. They’ve added a few very good players since the Six Nations.” said John Dalziel, the Scotland under-20 head coach.
He added : “I thought our boys rose to the challenge. Italy scored five tries from the driving maul in their first two games but we denied them this opportunity and in fact it was Scotland who scored the only maul try.” The Scots also produced two vital try-saving tackles, the first by Blair Kinghorn and the second, minutes from full time by Robbie Nairn.
Scotland have five days to recover from this bruising encounter before playing their fourth round match, time that will be used profitably as head coach John Dalziel admitted. He said : “We have a lot of work to do before round four. We made it tough and put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We need to tidy up on our errors.”
The Scots looked to have scored in the first two minutes when good approach work by Kinghorn set Nairn on course to the line only for the ball to slip from the hands of Harlequins wing in the act of scoring.
Nairn, however, quickly atoned with an impressive individual try countered by a touchdown from Italy’s classy centre Marco Rizzi converted by stand-off Antonio Rizzi. The Scots regained the lead with a Luke Crosbie try converted by Conor Eastgate but three successive penalties by Rizzi gave Italy a 16-12 advantage midway through the second half. Then from a maul Tom Dodd touched down for Scotland with proved to be the winning score.
Scorers Scotland Tries Nairn, Crosbie, Dodd Con Eastgate Italy Try Zanon Con Rizzi Pens Rizzi (3)
Scotland under-20 : B Kinghorn; R Nairn (P Anderson 77), R McCann, S McDowall, D Graham; C Eastgate (J Henderson 61), A Simmers (C Shiel 61); G Thornton (R Dunbar 66), F Renwick, A Nicol (F Bradbury 75), A Craig (H Bain 72), C Hunter-Hill, L Crosbie, M Fagerson, T Dodd
Source : HeraldScotland