Italy u/20 Issue An Early Warning To u/20 Springboks


Round 1 of the u/20 Six Nations was played during the weekend with England, Ireland and France winning their respective matches against Scotland, Wales and Italy.

However, for South African supporters the performance of Italy, who is part of their Pool C competitors along with Argentina and Georgia in the 2023 u/20 World Cup, is extremely important.

Although Italy lost narrowly to France in the final minutes of their match, they sent an early warning to the other u/20 Six Nations teams, but also to the other u/20 World Cup hopefuls and particularly to the u/20 Springboks.

It was recently announced that South Africa will host the World Rugby U20 Championship for the next two years (2023 and 2024) from 24 June-14 July 2023. Played over five match days in the Western Cape Wineland regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington, the world’s best 12 nations have been placed into three pools.

Pool A: France, Wales, New Zealand and Japan.
Pool B: Australia, England, Ireland and Fiji.
Pool C: South Africa, Argentina, Italy and Georgia.

France 28-27 Italy

France claimed a thrilling 28-27 win in the Under-20 Six Nations opener after Andrea Bruniera's conversion at the death broke Italy hearts in Treviso.

Trailing 28-22 in the 83rd minute, a sensational pass found Italy winger Matthias Douglas in space and he duly dotted down to give the Azzurri a shot of victory from the resulting conversion.

It was not to be though as Bruniera’s effort sailed wide on an evening in which Italy missed four of their five conversion attempts.

France spent much of the game under pressure, with their forwards, in particular, being largely dominated, but they found a way to win through moments of quality from Mael Moustin and Matthias Castro Ferreira and get their campaign off to a great start.

Ireland 44-27 Wales

Sam Prendergast inspired Ireland to a 44-27 win over Wales to get their Grand Slam defence off to the perfect start at Stadiwm CSM.

Despite early pressure from the hosts, Ireland took the lead through Conor O’Tighearnaigh, but Wales was soon in the lead after tries from Louie Hennessey and Llien Morgan and a penalty from Dan Edwards.

However, Paddy McCarthy crossed the whitewash to reduce the deficit to one point at the break.

After half-time, Edwards was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, but that did not stop Sam Scarfe from scoring in the 52nd minute.

Ireland battled back though, storming into an unassailable lead with a double from James Nicholson and a brilliant finish from Ruadhán Quinn.

Morgan scored late on, but it was a consolation as Ireland crossed again through Hugh Cooney to end a top-quality contest.

England 41-36 Scotland

Josh Hathaway scored a 15-minute hat-trick but England needed a late Tobias Elliott try to deny Scotland a stunning comeback victory in a 41-36 victory at the Stoop.

The Scots were winless in their last two Under-20s Six Nations campaigns and looked like they were in for a long night when they trailed 31-10 midway through the first half.

But they produced a stirring comeback, scoring 26 unanswered points to lead with just over ten minutes to go.

It was then that Elliott struck, with Sam Harris adding a final penalty to make the game a little safer for England.