Italy 9-28 Ireland
Full-back Craig Gilroy struck for two second half tries as the Ireland Under-20s overcame a stiff challenge from Italy on the opening night of the RBS U-20 6 Nations Championship.
Mike Ruddock’s first competitive game in charge of the Ireland Under-20s hung in the balance until Craig Gilroy broke through for a brace of tries.
The Ulster flyer touched down in the 71st and 74th minutes to decide this scrappy affair in Parma. Prop James Tracy grabbed the only try of the first half, and out-half Paddy Jackson kicked the remaining 13 points for the visitors.
Winger Marco Gennari booted three penalties for a spirited Italian team that troubled Ireland for long stretches and gave little away in defence.
Italy U20s Scorers
Pens: Marco Gennari 3
Ireland U20s Scorers
Tries: James Tracy, Craig Gilroy 2; Cons: Paddy Jackson 2; Pens: Paddy Jackson 3
Italy U20s Lineup
Augusto Cosulich (Benetton Treviso); Alex Morsellino (Petrarca Padova), Giovanni Alberghini (HBS GranDucato Parma), Tommaso Castello (Banco di San Giorgio Cus Genova), Marco Gennari (BancaMonteParma Crociati); Luca Morisi (Rugby Grande Milano), Guglielmo Palazzani (Cammi Calvisano); Nicola Quaglio (Femi-CZ Rovigo), Amar Kudin (Benetton Treviso), Piermaria Leso (Petrarca Padova) (capt), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Alfio Mammana (Amatori Catania), Edoardo Ghiraldini (Petrarca Padova), Jacopo Bocchi (Benetton Treviso), Edoardo Ruffolo (BancaMonteParma Crociati).
Replacements used: Timi Enodeh (BancaMonteParma Crociati) for Castello (47 mins), Riccardo Cagna (MPS Viadana) for Leso, Giovanni Maistri (Cammi Calvisano) for Quaglio (both 50), Francesco Menon (Consiel Firenze 1931) for Alberghini, Andrea Balsemin (HBS GranDucato Parma) for Fuser (both 60), Ruben Riccioli (Mantovani Lazio) for Ghiraldini (39), Vittorio Callori di Vignale (Estra I Cavalieri Prato) for Cosulich (80), Nicola Quaglio for Kudin (80+4).
Ireland U20s Lineup
Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster); Andrew Conway (Blackrock/Leinster), Alex Kelly (UCD/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster),Andrew Boyle (UCD/Leinster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Blane McIlroy (Ballymena/Ulster); James Tracy (UCD/Leinster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) (capt), Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster), Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Leinster), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht).
Replacements used: Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster) for McKeon (14 mins, inj), Conor Carey (Ballymena/Ulster) for Moore (37-half-time, blood sub, 63), David Doyle (UCD/Leinster) for Kearney (55-63, blood sub), Brendan Macken (Blackrock/Leinster) for Kelly (60), Finlay Bealham (Exile) for Tracy, Peter du Toit (UCD/Leinster) for McIlroy (both 79), Cathal Marsh (Dublin University/Leinster) for Jackson (80+4).