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Hello and welcome to our coverage of Ireland’s opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championships in Georgia.

Ireland take on Italy in the opener, and will hope for a bonus point win after New Zealand beat Scotland 42-20 earlier.

The anthems have just finished, and before kick-off, here’s a quick reminder of the teams:

Ireland U20

15. Jack Kelly  (Dublin University / Leinster)
14. Colm Hogan (Dublin University / Munster)
13. Gavin Mullin (UCD / Leinster)
12. Ciaran Frawley (UCD / Leinster)
11. Calvin Nash (Young Munster / Munster)
10. Conor Dean (UCD / Leinster)
9. Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University / Ulster)

1. Joey Conway (UL Bohemians / Munster)
2. Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen / Munster)
3. Charlie Connolly (Dublin University / Leinster)
4. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster /Munster)
5. Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne / Leinster)
6. Marcus Rea (Queen’s University / Ulster)
7. Paul Boyle (Lansdowne FC/Leinster) (Capt.)
8. Gavin Coombes (Young Munster /Munster)

Replacements

16. Ronan Kelleher (UCD / Leinster)
17. Greg McGrath (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
18. Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
19. Jack Regan (UCD /Leinster)
20. Sean Masterson (Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
21. Jack Stafford (Shannon RFC / Munster)
22. Angus Curtis (Queen’s University / Ulster)
23. Alan Tynan (Young Munster / Munster)

Italy U20

15. Massimo Cioffi (Lazio Rugby)
14. Andrea De Masi (Benetton Treviso)
13. Marco Zanon (Mogliano Rugby)
12. Dario Schiabel (Lafert San Donà)
11. Giovanni D’Onofrio (Rugby Benevento)
10. Antonio Rizzi (Mogliano Rubgy)
9. Charly Vincenzo Ernst Trussardi (Clermont Auvergne)

1. Danilo Fischetti (Unione Rugby Capitolina)
2. Massimo Ceciliani (Delebio Rugby)
3. Marco Riccioni (Patarò Calvisano) (Capt)
4. Niccolò Cannone (Florentia Rugby)
5. Edoardo Iachizzi (USAP Perpignan)
6. Jacopo Bianchi (Vasari Arezzo)
7. Lorenzo Masselli (Sitav Rugby Lyons)
8. Giovanni Licata (Miraglia Rugby)

Replacements

16. Alberto Rollero (Sitav Rugby Lyons)
17. Daniele Rimpelli (Patarò Calvisano)
18. Dante Gavrilita (Patarò Calvisano)
19. Lodovico Manni (Mogliano Rugby)
20. Michele Lamaro (Lazio Rugby)
21. MatteoMaria Panunzi (Unione Rugby Capitolina)
22. Filippo Di Marco (L’Aquila Rugby Club)
23. Andrea Bronzini (Rugby Viadana 1970)

And Italy get the game under way.

It’s been a strong start for Ireland, dominating possession.

They’ll have the game’s first scrum too after just two minutes.

Seven minutes in and Ireland have the game’s first penalty.

Conor Dean skews it right and wide and last year’s beaten finalists must wait for their first points of this year’s competition.

Italy have their first period of possession in the game and very nearly score after a very smart kick and chase, taking advantage of Ireland having nobody in defence.

Gavin Coombes is lucky not to be in the bin after he’s found to have pulled back an Italian player off the ball.

Italy kick to touch in the corner.

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TRY! Italy 5-0 Ireland

The decision to kick to touch works out and Italy have the game’s first score, prop Danilo Fischetti found to have grounded the ball after a well-worked maul.

This is not the start Ireland would have hoped for.

Antonio Rizzi misses the extras so the score stays 5-0.

Ireland somewhat at sixes and sevens since that Italy score. They could really do with an extended period of possession.

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TRY! Italy 12-0 Ireland

That’s a brilliant team score by Italy to double their lead.

First the little chip kick from Rizzi is picked up by the full-back Massimo Cioffi before his brilliant offload finds Jacopo Bianchi, the blindside running over for the easiest of scores.

22 minutes in and a double substitution for Ireland.

Number 23 Alan Tynan comes on for Colm Hogan while the hooker Diarmuid Barron is replaced by Ronan Kelleher.

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PENALTY – Italy 12-3 Ireland

Ireland are finally on the scoreboard in the 28th minute, Dean splitting the posts this time.

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DROP GOAL – Italy 15-3 Ireland

A well struck drop goal Rizzi immediately cancels out Ireland’s first score and everything is going Italy’s way.

Once again a kick chase gets Ireland into trouble but good work from Dean means his side can clear their lines.

HALF-TIME – Italy 15-3 Ireland

That was a disappointing half from Ireland to say the least, riddled with mistakes.

Peter Malone’s men will have it all to do in the second half.

Ireland looking a bit more structured in the second half.

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TRY – Italy 15-8 Ireland

And they are rewarded straight away, catching Italy on the hop with a nice team try; Ciaran Frawley and Conor Dean combining to allow Calvin Nash ghost over the line.

Dean misses the extras, however, so we have a seven-point game.

Ireland putting Italy under all sorts of pressure at the start of the second half. This is so much better.

TRY – Italy 15-15 Ireland

What a turnaround from Ireland, two tries in seven minutes and it’s a level game, Calvin Nash again on the end of a well-worked move.

Ireland unlucky there not to take the lead for the first time.

After great work from Alan Tynan, following 14-odd phases from Ireland, he drops the ball just before touching it down. Scrum to Italy.

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PENALTY – Ireland 18-15 Italy

63 minutes into the game and Ireland finally have the lead thanks to a Dean penalty.

Alan Tynan has been very impressive since he came on and looks a real threat every time he gets the ball in his hands.

Replacements for Ireland as Jack Regan comes on for Oisin Dowling while Marcus Rea makes way for Sean Masterson.

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PENALTY – Ireland 21-15 Italy

Ciaran Frawley takes over kicking duties from Conor Dean — though it may just have been due to distance — and he nails his first effort to stretch Ireland’s lead to six after 70 minutes.

Another change sees Peter Cooper replace Charlie Connolly in the front-row.

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TRY! Ireland 21-20 Italy

Oh wow. Italy score in the 77th minute to bring the game back to one with the conversion to come.

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ITALY 22-21 Ireland

Massimo Cioffi takes the extras and he nails it despite the kick looking for all the world like it was going wide until the very last second.

That could well be that.

PENALTY IRELAND – 79 minutes

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He misses! Ireland lose.

Frawley just drags his kick wide. Italy win the game by a single point.

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Full-Time – Italy 22-21 Ireland

Ireland, for so much of the second half the better team, are undone just at the end.

Italy, who dominated most of the opening 40, take the win.

That’s it from me.

Not the result Ireland were hoping for by any means.

Thanks, as always, for joining us.

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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