In Cardiff it is a real battle, but the Azzurrini pay for the excessive indiscipline and in the long run the match slips from their hands.
Six Nations Under 20 Italy-Wales (credits: Six Nations Rugby)
Italy’s Under 20 Six Nations, defeated in Cardiff by the hosts, did not start in the best way. Wales, to tell the truth, did not seem so overflowing, but they were able to exploit the excessive indiscipline of the blues and the perfect foot of Sam Costelow, who punished Massimo Brunello’s team on every given opportunity. There are still many regrets, because the azzurrini – at times – have shown that they can play widely, but they lacked the ability to adapt to a game that with the passing of the minutes became more and more “dirty”.
Italy’s departure is in full swing then: lots of possession and lots of phases, but twice Wales – with the usual ability to play to the limit at the meeting points – takes the chestnuts out of the fire by conquering the estate in their own 22. The battle is furious, so much so that the referee Nika Amashukeli after 10 minutes has to rely on the TMO after a brawl triggered by a reaction from Garyn Phillips after a tackle – hard but regular – by Lorenzo Cannone. For the referee, our third line is also “guilty” of the turmoil created, and therefore decides to warn both of them.
However, Brunello’s team continues to have the ball in hand, so much so that at 14 ‘the warning already arrives after the fourth foul in a row. The azzurrini insist on giving up the posts, looking for the touche that finally bears its fruits. The Welsh expects the drive and the push, but Neculai comes off and goes to flag for the 5-0. The blue prop, however, after the marking throws the ball at a Welshman and takes a free kick that the hosts can take instead of the kick-off. The maul on the penaltouche of the dragons is advancing and the technical goal arrives with consequent yellow for Piantella.
At 7-5 and 14 against 13, the azzurrini hold, also helped by a Wales that alternates great things (Harri Deaves above all) with elementary errors that grace Italy. Indiscipline – especially in the breakdown – and too much haste gradually bring possession and territory to the opponents, who at 34 ‘stretch to 10-5. The game got a little out of hand, especially when – after a hold earned by the azzurrini – Amashukeli “turned” the free kick because of words, according to him, “totally unacceptable” by Filippo Drago. Costelow stretches for 13-5 and the blue center ends up out for 10 minutes.
The second half begins with Wales in full. The azzurrini still pay for indiscipline, committing fouls that are sometimes “light” and punished by a very fiscal yardstick by Amashukeli, while others are naive and avoidable like the one that allows Costelow to stretch to 16-5. On the other hand comes the foul of Harri Deaves who does not respect the 10 meters on a quick kick by Albanese and gets the fifth yellow of the match, second for the Welsh. From the pitch goes Albanese who scores 16-8 and then gives way to Alessandro Garbisi, while Teneggi takes over Ferrarin. The changes also arrive on the front line and immediately bear their fruits, with the pair of Spanish-Hasa props gaining an important penalty.
With the extra man the azzurrini take the field again, but once again the excessive haste and indiscipline betray Brunello’s team. Once again, Piantella commits a foul, this time a side entry, and even Amashukeli guarantees the second yellow line at the next infraction. Italy attacks again: Garbisi invents a great ball for Drago who, however, wastes with an offload that is too forced. The hosts, on the other hand, go to the other side and extend again, first with the drop and then with two penalties by Costelow. It ends 25-8, Wales wins while not fully convincing, while Italy will have to take a step forward in terms of solidity to really exploit its – excellent – potential.
Italy: 15 Leonardo Marin, 14 Flavio Pio Vaccari, 13 Tommaso Menoncello, 12 Filippo Drago, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Mattia Ferrarin, 9 Manfredi Albanese, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Ross Micheal Vintcent, 6 Luca Andreani (c), 5 Nicola Piantella, 4 Giacomo Ferrari, 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Tommaso Di Bartolomeo, 1 Luca Rizzoli
Available: 16 Matteo Baldelli, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Muhamed Hasa, 19 Riccardo Andreoli, 20 Giovanni Cenedese, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Nicolò Teneggi, 23 Fabio Schiabel, 24 Fabrizio Boschetti, 25 Giulio Marucchini, 26 Arturo Fusari
Wales: 15 Jacob Beetham, 14 Dan John, 13 Ioan Evans, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Carrick McDonough, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Harri Williams, 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 7 Harri Deaves, 6 Alex Mann (c), 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Joe Peard, 3 Nathan Evans, 2 Efan Daniel, 1 Garyn Phillips (Ospreys)
Available: 16 Oliver Burrows, 17 Theo Bevacqua, 18 Lewys Jones, 19 James Fender, 20 Tristan Davies, 21 Ethan Lloyd, 22 Will Reed, 23 Tom Florence, 24 Morgan Richards, 25 Eddie James, 26 Evan Lloyd
Goals: Technical goal
Free Kicks: Costelow (5)
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