|World Rugby U20 Championship: Italy v Ireland|
|Italy (7) 14|
|Tries: Fusco, Penalty Try, Con: Garbisi|
|Ireland (31) 38|
|Tries: Milne, Foley, Allison, Russell, Penalty Try Cons: Healy 4 Pen: Healy|
Ireland’s hopes of reaching the U20 World Championship semi-finals remain faint despite a bonus-point win over Italy in Santa Fe.
Needing five points and a huge points difference swing to reach the final four, Ireland flew out of the traps with four tries in the first half.
However the Italians improved considerably in the second period to slow the Six Nations champions.
The semi-finalists will be confirmed after Wednesday’s final pool games.
With Australia already guaranteed to finish top of Pool B, Ireland can only qualify as the best runners-up.
The victory over Italy means they now sit on 10 points alongside South Africa and New Zealand, both of whom will remain above Ireland in the overall standings as long as they avoid a heavy defeat in their Pool C encounter on Wednesday evening.
Knowing that they needed to rack up the scores, Ireland wasted little time in the search for tries and were rewarded for a spell of sustained pressure after eight minutes when prop Michael Milne drove over from close range.
Ben Healy, given the nod at fly-half having been among the replacements in the opening two games, enjoyed a flawless kicking display and edged Ireland further ahead from the tee in a one-sided opening period.
Cormac Foley added a second try as the Irish backs once again displayed their confidence with ball in hand, with the Leinster centre crossed after collecting Rob Russell’s inside ball.
Poor handling stymied Italian attempts to work their way back into the contest before Ireland resumed position in opposition territory as Azur Allison darted over following more sustained pressure.
The pick of the tries came from Russell who secured the bonus-point after just 37 minutes, scoring in the corner after an outrageous ‘no-look’ offload from Doherty.
Italy eventually found some joy of their own as their increasing dominance in the scrum was rewarded in the final play of the second half as Alessandro Fusco snuck over.
More to follow.