Scotland fall to defeat in World Rugby Under-20 Championship opener

Scotland under-20 fell to a 68-10 defeat at the hands of a strong New Zealand side in the first game of the 2015 World Rugby under-20 Championship tonight, at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma.

The opposition – who won the tournament the last time it was played in Italy, in 2011 – scored nine tries to Scotland’s one, eventually breaking away from a resilient Scottish side after a tight opening 20 minutes.

Scotland started the first half well showing desire  which was complemented by their air of confidence.

After 15 minutes, Scotland, playing in their alternative red strips, held a 10-3 lead over their 14 men opposition with Rory Hutchinson knocking over a penalty and adding the extras to a well-worked Lewis Carmichael try.

However, New Zealand retaliated in fine fashion scoring three tries of their own through full-back George Bridge, wing Tevita Li and back-row Akira Ioane.  Stand-off Mitchell Hunt successfully added the extras to all the scores, as well as knocking over two penalty attempts, to give the All Blacks a 27-10 lead at the break.

New Zealand started the second half as they closed the first and went on to claim a further 41 points before the end of the game, with Scotland failing to register any further scores.  

Despite a gutsy performance from the Scots, the All Blacks crossed the line six times in the second period, with the clinical boot of Hunt slotting a further four conversions and a penalty to take his personal tally to 28 for the game.

Run of play

Scotland stand-off Rory Hutchinson and his kiwi counterpart Mitchell Hunt exchanged penalties in a lively opening ten minutes, both side’s looking to showing strong attacking intent.

Jamie Ritchie, the Scotland skipper, made a gallant decision to decline an easy chance at three points, instead opting to kick for the corner, building on his side’s early momentum.

The captain’s confidence in his side paid off, as a well-worked driving lineout move allowed lock Lewis Carmichael to crash over and give Scotland the lead after 15 minutes. Hutchinson bisected the uprights with the conversion to give Scotland a 10-3 lead.

New Zealand retaliated immediately, first tying the scores through a George Bridge try and a Hunt conversion, before taking the lead as Tevita Li charged in from half-way against the run of play to cross the whitewash (10-17).

A busy Scotland attack came within touching distance of the opposition line on a number of occasions, yet wasn’t able to bare any fruit as they were unlucky not to dot down again before the half-time whistle blew.

On the stroke of half-time back-row Akira Ioane, scored New Zealand’s third try of the game, building on another Hunt penalty.

Half-time: Scotland 10 v 27 New Zealand.

Building on their first half lead, Blake Gibson dotted down for the All Blacks in the opening minute of the second period, feeding off another strong run from Li. 

Scotland were reduced to 14 men after 46 minutes as centre Archie Russell was shown a yellow card for a tackle the referee deemed as dangerous.

In Russell’s absence New Zealand added another 14 points with Mitchell Karpik and Jack Goodhue touching down for scores, both converted by the boot of Hunt (10-48).

Following on from a Geoffrey Cridge score, the impressive Hunt added his third penalty of the day and slithered through the Scotland defence to grab a try for himself.

TJ Faiane scored the final try of the match with Hunt’s seventh conversion closing the scores at 68-10 in favour of New Zealand.

Scotland v New Zealand, World Rugby Under-20 Championship, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma (kick-off 7.30pm GMT)

Scotland under-20: Ruairi Howarth; Richard Galloway, Archie Russell, Tom Galbraith, Alec Coombes; Rory Hutchinson, Ben Vellacott; Dan Elkington, Sam James, Callum Sheldon, Scott Cummings, Lewis Carmichael, Lewis Wynne, Jamie Ritchie CAPTAIN and Ally Miller. 

Replacements: Ross Graham, Murray McCallum, Zander Fagerson, Neil Irvine-Hess, Magnus Bradbury, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Ruaraidh Smith.

New Zealand under-20: George Bridge; Nathaniel Apa, Jack Goodhue, Tinoai Faiane, Tevita Li; Mitchell Hunt, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi; Ricky Riccitelli, Liam Polwart, Atunaisa Moli, Joshua Goodhue, James Blackwell, Akira Ioane, Mitchell Karpik and Blake Gibson.

Replacements: Steven Misa, Aidan Ross, Isileli Tu’ungafasi, Geoffrey Cridge, Henry Stowers, Harrison Levien, Luteru Laulala and Sean Wainui.