Young Scots end season with best-ever finish

After a needle-match 80 minutes in the unrelenting Italian heat, Scotland under-20 were just edged 17-9, in the final few minutes of the play-off for 7th/8th spot at the World Rugby under-20 Championship this afternoon.

The Scots put the first points on the board, after six minutes, with a Blair Kinghorn penalty but within ten minutes were 7-3 behind following a Fitzerald score in the corner, converted by Carbery.

Kinghorn struck again with the boot after 24m to put just one point between the sides but then traded missed penalties with his Irish counterpart, keeping the score at half time as 7-6 in favour of the Irish.

After a raft of Irish substitutions around half time, Ringrose slotted another three points to pull the Irish 10-6 ahead. Three subs apiece around the 66m mark and fresh legs for both sides allowed the Scots to force another mistake and George Horne - who came on for Ben Vellacott at 56m - nailed the kick to pull it back to 10-9.

The match remained on a knife-edge until 72 minutes when Fitzgerald crossed for his brace, Ringrose nailing the conversion.  Fighting to the last, the score remained 17-9 however with Ireland taking 7th place in the Championship.

Despite today’s defeat, Scotland under-20 have still achieved their highest ranking in the competition to date, finishing in eighth.

This builds on the momentum from this year’s under-20 Six Nations, when Scotland recorded three home victories to achieve third place, also their highest ranking in that respective competition.

Teams

Scotland under-20: Blair Kinghorn; Robbie Nairn, Alec Coombes, Patrick Kelly, Richard Galloway; Rory Hutchinson, Ben Vellacott; Murray McCallum, Sam James, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Ally Miller, Neil Irvine-Hess, Jamie Ritchie CAPTAIN and Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Ross Graham (on for James, 65m), Dan Elkington (on for McCallum, 49m), Jack Owlett (on for Fagerson, 75m), Ruaridh Knott (on for Miller, 67m),  Lewis Wynne (on for Cummings, 59m), George Horne (on for Vellacott, 56m), Tom Galbraith (on for Kelly, 65m) and Archie Russell (on for Nairn, 70m).

Ireland under-20: Billy Dardis; Stephen Fitzgerald, Garry Ringrose, Sam Arnold, Jacob Stockdale; Joey Carbery, Charlie Rock; Andrew Porter, Zack McCall, Conan O’Donnell, David O’Connor, Alex Thompson, Josh Murphy, Rory Moloney and Lorcan Dow.

Replacements (all used): Adam McBurney, Liam O’Connor, Oisin Heffernan, Cian Romaine, McVeigh, Jack Cullen, Fergal Cleary and Ciaran Gaffney.