U20’s deal out whitewash to Italy in the Borders
Scotland’s ‘junior’ side dealt out a 45-0 hammering to their Italian counterparts at Netherdale on Friday Night. Leading 19-0 at the break, The young Scots then went on to run in 26 unanswered points in the second half.
Scotland were up in Italian faces right from the off and, the first try was scored inside the first five minutes. A break up the right drove deep into the visitors’ 22 and from the resultant ruck the ball came cross to the centre. Another ruck , set up in front of the posts, recycled quick ball and scrum half, George Horne, picked up and dived over between a couple of defenders to touch down. He then converted to put Scotland into a 7-0 lead. With the home side clearly dominant in almost every situation, it was only another 10 minutes before they were on the score board again. Winning their own lineout in the 22, the pack set up a maul and rolled up to and over the line for the captain, James Richie, to drop down for the try. This time Horne’s kick fell just short, but it was 12-0 to Scotland.
It was during the next period of play where Italy had their best chance of the match, but the 17th minute penalty attempt from stand off, Matteo Minozzi, was well wide. Following this brief hiatus of dominance, the Scottish pack were back on song and, with the Italian’s being pushed all over the place in the scrum, it was only a matter of time before something gave. That something was referee, Sean Gallagher’s, patience and Italy’s prop, Dino Dallavalle was carded for 10 minutes.
This just gave Scotland even more of an advantage and they proceeded to throw everything at the opposition defence. Just reward came in the 30th minute, with a repeat of the lineout/rolling maul/try play, Neil Irvine-Hess being the scorer this time, for a 17-0 lead. Horne made no mistake this time took the score out to 19-0, where it remained at until the break.
It took three minutes of the second half for Scotland to add to their tally. Centre Patrick Kelly’s offload from his own break down the middle put Gala’s Ruari Howarth in under the posts. Horne again converted and it was a 26-0 game.
The next 25 minutes of the match were played at the same frantic pace, with Italy managing the defensive game much better and still being able to get into the Scot’s 22 on a couple of occasions. Scotland, for their part, were still in a dominant mood and looked far the more likely to score, spending a fair part of the time in Italy’s 22. However, both sides suffered from handling errors – a fault which probably cost the home side a couple of scores as ‘firm’, accurate passes found the deck far to many times through mishandling – so the match entered the final 10 minutes with the same score line.
And what a 10 minutes it proved to be. Three further tries from Scotland. The first was a close range effort from James Richie for his second try on the night and the second came from replacement wing Ben Robbins, substitute kicker Tom Galbraith playing his part to take the score up to 40-0.
Then came the try of the match. With the clock hovering near full time, a clearing kick from the 22 was chased down by wing, Alec Coombes, who collected the ball on the first bounce and found himself with a fairly clear run in from his own half. The No. 11 jinked and swerved around a couple of defenders up to within five metres of the line. A last, despairing tackle attempt by full back, Luca Sperandio, failed to stop the charging Coombes who dived over for Scotland’s seventh try and a 45-0 lead. Robbins couldn’t find the posts with his kick and the ref blew then up for full time.
This was a superb performance by the young Scottish side against, it must be said, a pretty poor Italian team. But they stuck with the script and, on a night where it would have been easy to get complacent, the team put in a wholly professional performance.
Images will appear here over the next few days.