In Auckland earlier today Scotland’s under-20 team made a powerful second-half comeback to beat their Italian counterparts in the first play-off in the 9-12 place category, 21-18. This not only saw them through to a play-off for 9th place against Argentina but also ensures their participation in the 2015 event by virtue of a 9th or 10th place in this year’s championship.
Head coach Sean Lineen said: “The amount of effort they put in and to see the elation on their faces at the end, makes it all worthwhile.
“We had a bit of a rev-up at half time, the guys had a bit of belief in the second half and scored some cracking tries – D’arcy Rae scored an absolute peach.
“I’m just delighted for the players and the management team – it’s been a tough season but we see the improvements, both on and off the pitch. A great result for us."
It was a nervous opening period, the Scots had plenty of ball but made too many errors, allowing Italy to play through the phases. with the Scots pinged for an early offside and Italy slotting the ensuing penalty (0-3) though missing a subsequent opportunity and a drop goal in the first ten minutes.
Good pressure from the Scots was punctuated with errors that led to a further Italian penalty midway through the first half as their stand-off, Buscema, hit his stride. Sustained attack punched a hole in Scotland’s defence five minutes before the break as winger Di Giulio touched down for the first try, putting the Italians 11-0 ahead at half time.
The Scots emerged for the second half in fiery mode and quickly hit back, their forwards scoring all their 21 points in a period of 15 minutes. A break by flanker Jamie Ritchie into the corner saw the first five points go on the board, after 45 minutes. Then a short drive for the line by lock Neil Irvine-Hess added a second try nine minutes later. Just five minutes after that, tighthead prop D’arcy Rae made a magnificent break, charging a good 30m, to cross for the third score. All the tries were duly converted by stand-off Rory Hutchinson.
Though Italy answered back with a try from Giammarioli, from a series of pick and goes, duly converted, with just over ten minutes on the clock, and a penalty attempt by Italy on full time coming up short, great defence on their line in the closing minutes saw the Scots win through.
Lineen said: “They had a penalty at the death, we still had to take the 22 – it was hand in the mouth stuff. We kicked it long, they ran it back then one of their guys knocked it on and we won the game.
“For the players it was a real magic moment, the look on their faces."
Scotland will now meet Argentina in the play-off for 9th position, on Friday (20 June, kick-off 3.05pm local, 4.05am UK).
Lineen said: “It’s a real challenge for the guys but we know what we need to work on. It’s a recovery day tomorrow then back into training on Tuesday and away we go again.”
Scotland under-20 team v Italy under-20, Sunday 15 June, ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe, kick-off 3.05pm local (4.05am UK)
15 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)
14 Damien Hoyland (Melrose) *
13 Blair Hutchison (Loughborough University/Melrose)
12 Neil Herron (Glasgow Hawks/Scotland 7s) **
11 Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies)
10 Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) (convs 6m, 15m, 20m)
9 Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Accies/ Scotland 7s) **
1 Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)
2 Sam James (London Wasps)
3 D'arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors) ** (try, 59m)
4 Neil Irvine-Hess (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby) ** (try, 54m)
5 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose) *
6 Jamie Ritchie (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife) * (try, 45m)
7 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) (captain)
8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby) **
16 James Malcolm (Ayr) *
17 Phil Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) ** (on for Cosgrove, 64m)
18 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks) (on for Rae, 64m)
19 Andy Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar) (on for Irvine-Hess, 70m)
20 Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)
21 Ben Vellacott (Hartpury/Gloucester) (on for Glashan, 70m)
22 Gavin Lowe (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors) **
23 Chris Dean (Edinburgh Accies/Scotland 7s) **
Scotland under-20 squad for IRB Junior World Cup
Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby) **
Lewis Carmichael (Melrose) *
Ben Chalmers (Melrose)
Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)
Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)
Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar)
Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **
Chris Dean (Edinburgh Accies/Scotland 7s)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks)
Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **
Cameron Fenton (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife) *
Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Accies/Scotland 7s)
Neil Herron (Glasgow Hawks/Scotland 7s)
Damien Hoyland (Melrose) *
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
Blair Hutchison (Loughborough University/Melrose)
Neil Irvine-Hess (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby) **
Sam James (London Wasps)
Gavin Lowe (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors) **
James Malcolm (Ayr) *
Shaun MacDonald (Stirling County)
Gavin Parker (Exeter University)
Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies)
D'arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors) **
Jamie Ritchie (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife) *
Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) (captain)
Ben Vellacott (Hartpury/Gloucester)
Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)
Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)
* member of Scottish Rugby's Regional Academy supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport
**Elite Development Player 2013/14
The IRB Junior World Cup 2014 is being held in Auckland, New Zealand. Scotland's pool games were against South Africa (Monday 2 June, k/o 3.35pm local); Samoa (Friday 6 June, k/o 1.35pm local); and New Zealand (Tuesday 10 June, k/o 7.35pm local). The 9th place play off v Argentina takes place at QBE Stadium, North Harbour on Friday 20 June (kick off 3.05pm local, 4.05am UK). Last year, Scotland finished in 10th place in the tournament.
Scotland's game against New Zealand (Tuesday 10 June) was shown live on Sky Sports 2 HD. Highlights of Scotland's other fixtures are accessible approximately 12 hours after the end of each game. Due to broadcast rights issues, these matches will not be streamed live in the UK.