Scotland U20s V Italy U20s
Scotland under-20 made it two from two at their Netherdale home this Six Nations campaign as they recorded an emphatic 45-0 victory over their Italian counterparts.
The performance was built around the solid Scottish set-piece, with man-of-the-match Zander Fagerson to the fore, dominating his opposite number, and forcing the Italian front-row to continually commit errors throughout the game.
A try-double from captain Jamie Ritchie, accompanied by a George Horne touchdown, gave Scotland a 19-point cushion as the half-time whistle sounded.
There was no let-up in their second-half display as they continually plugged away to score a further four tries from full-back Ruairi Howarth, wings Ben Robbins and Alec Coombes, and another for Ritchie.
Scotland under-20 Head Coach, Sean Lineen, said: “I thought our scrum was very, very good as was our lineout drive.
“The set-piece really kept us in the game, and the guys continued to try really hard throughout the match.
“At times our accuracy wasn’t quite there, and we need to go away and work on that – it’s all part of the learning curve in terms of how we need to play the game.
“The guys wanted to make tackles and we had a great work ethic in defence which stems from the thriving team spirit we have.
“The tournament is all about momentum, so we’ve got to keep working hard.
“The pleasing thing is that we didn’t play too well but still managed to win 45-0, and we’ve got to be happy with that result.”
Scotland were immediately on the front-foot as the game kicked off, and it took only five minutes for scrum-half George Horne to cross the line, following some patient phase play from the home-side. The Glasgow Hawks player added the extras to his own touchdown to give Scotland a 7-0 lead after only five minutes.
A break from wing Ruaraidh Smith in the 14th minute provided a platform for the Scotland forwards to make further advancements towards the Italian line, which soon resulted in a further score.
Scotland executed a well-worked lineout, only metres from the Italian line, with the subsequent maul resulting in a score for Jamie Ritchie. Horne’s conversion attempt, unluckily, rebounded off the upright. (12-0)
Italy’s most prominent chance for points came in the 17th minute, as their stand-off Matteo Minozzi stepped forward for a shot at goal, yet his unclean strike seen the ball sail wide of the posts.
Scotland’s pack continued to put their Italian counterparts under the cosh in the scrum, which, after repeat offence, resulted in the visitors’ prop Dino Dallavalle being sent to the sin-bin.
The home-side, playing in red, capitalised on their man advantage and Ritchie grabbed his second, in an almost identical manner to his first, in the 30th minute.
Half-time: Scotland 19 - 0 Italy
Unrelenting, Scotland opened the second half with their fourth try of the match.
Centre Patrick Kelly came on a switch with stand-off Rory Hutchinson and powered through the initial line of Italian defence, before offloading to local lad Ruairi Howarth, who was on hand to dive under the posts for the try in the 43rd minute. Horne’s successful conversion gave Scotland under-20 a comfortable, 26-0, lead.
The flow of the game was disrupted for a 15-minute period marred by handling errors from both sides.
Archie Russell’s promising break was one of the highlights of a scoreless 25-minute spell. Substitute Tom Galbraith had an opportunity to break the deadlock yet his shot at goal drifted across the front of goal.
Scotland regained confidence come the 70th minute and injected some tempo back into the game. Their flair and confidence in attack helped close the game in the last 10 minutes, as they went on to score a further three tries.
The first of the three came as substitute scrum-half Ben Vellacott, exhibited his awareness going forward as he sniped around the base of the ruck to take Scotland to within metres of Italy’s line. Once again, Ritchie was on hand to scoop the ball up and crash over from close range. Galbraith was successful with his strike at goal, giving Scotland a 33-0 lead.
Gasman, wing Ben Robbins was next on the scoresheet, feeding off an excellent individual break from full-back Howarth. The Gala man rounded an opposition defender, popping to Robbins who scuttled under the posts to score. Galbraith embraced the easy shot at goal and added a further two points to take Scotland into the forties. (40-0)
The last try of the game was scored in the final, and arguably the most exciting, play of the game. A stray kick from centre Archie Russell landed in the hands of wing Alec Coombes just outside Scotland’s 22 metre area. With a lot of work to do, Coombes stepped off both feet a number of times, jinking in and out, to wrong foot a number of defenders. Italy’s full-back managed to make a last-ditch tackle, yet it wasn’t enough as the London Scottish man stretched to score his first try in Scotland colours as the final whistle sounded.