Achi Gegenava/INPHO Ireland were left devastated at the final whistle.
# learning curve
Ireland must learn lessons from damaging defeat after Italy performance 'not good enough'
Peter Malone’s side have work to do ahead of Sunday’s clash with Scotland.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Peter Malone admits his side must learn the lessons from their painful defeat to Italy yesterday if they are to get their U20 World Championship campaign back on track.

With injuries to key personnel and a change in management, Ireland’s build-up to the tournament had been less than ideal but even still a 22-21 defeat to Italy in their Pool B opener is regarded as a shock result.

Massimo Cioffi’s late try at the AIA Arena in Kutaisi inflicted a damaging loss on Malone’s young charges after Ireland had recovered from a slow start which saw them go into the break 15-3 behind.

“We let them get an early foothold in the game which was the one thing we didn’t want to do,” Malone said afterwards.

“We dominated possession in the first 15 or 20 minutes but they got two breakaway tries and that put us under pressure. I thought the lads took the foot off the pedal towards the end of the first half.”

Malone added that despite the way his side came back into the game after half time and managed to put themselves in a winning position, Italy were the deserving winners.

“They refocused a lot, I thought we’d then done enough but in fairness to Italy, they deserved it. They stayed in the game, they got their chance and they took it in the last minute. We’re disappointed; there’s a lot to learn from that game.

“We were pretty average at times in that first half so we’ll really learn from that and see what we can do better against Scotland because we know they are a serious team.”

Ireland’s next outing is against Scotland on Sunday with that game now representing a must-win assignment if they are to harbour any hopes of advancing from their pool into the knock-out stages.

Captain Paul Boyle conceded yesterday’s performance just wasn’t good enough.

“Our first half performance wasn’t good enough. Everything seemed to go wrong in the first half. Our ‘D’ wasn’t good enough, our attack wasn’t good enough. We did get it together in the second half but just fell short.

“We’ll have to improve for the next day against Scotland.”

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