The Ireland Under-20s have made it two wins on the trot at the IRB Junior World Championship by outlasting Italy in a game that went to extra-time at Cardiff Arms Park. Scrum half Ian Porter landed the match-winning penalty kick in the 99th-minute.
2008 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – 9TH-12TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Wednesday, June 18
IRELAND UNDER-20s 9 ITALY UNDER-20s 6, Cardiff Arms Park
Scorers: Ireland: Pens: Ian Porter 3
Italy: Pens: Riccardo Bocchino 2
Ulster scrum half Ian Porter was the Irish hero in the second period of extra-time as he landed the penalty from 45 yards which guaranteed Ireland a top-10 finish at the IRB Junior World Championship.
The match was locked at 6-6 after normal time and neither side had a clear chance in the sudden-death period of extra-time until Porter grabbed his chance for glory in the 99th-minute of a game dominated by the boot.
Ireland, who beat Italy 6-0 in this year’s Six Nations, opened the scoring with a straight forward penalty from Porter. But Italy out-half Riccardo Bocchino was able to level with his second place-kicking attempt from about 40 metres.
The best try-scoring opportunity went to Ireland but left winger Chris Cochrane knocked on when trying to touch down a kick through, which meant right winger David Kearney was denied the score following up.
Ireland re-established their lead at the start of the second half when Porter added his second penalty, again from straight in front of the posts on the 22-metre line.
Bocchino levelled when he was given a 40-yard penalty shot with eight minutes to go after the Ireland backs strayed offside.
With extra-time looming the rain started to come down heavily. As the game ticked past the 80 minutes, Ireland were given a last difficult chance to snatch the victory in normal time.
The Italian pack infringed at a ruck just inside the Irish half and Porter stepped up to attempt the penalty from 52 yards. However, his low effort did not threaten the posts and it finished 6-6 in normal time.
The result sees Ireland through to the 9th-10th place play-off, which will take place at Rodney Parade in Newport on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Their opponents will be Scotland, who also needed extra-time to see off Canada 15-10 in their first match in the knock-out stages.
Ireland beat Scotland 17-12 when the sides met in the Six Nations at Dubarry Park in February. Eric Elwood’s charges also won a warm-up game against the Scots at Ravenhill before this tournament.
Speaking after the win over Italy, Elwood admitted: “It wasn’t the best of games. I think the guys were afraid to make mistakes and express themselves. It was one of those games where territory was king.
“It was great that we won the game, but the manner in which we did it was tough on the Italians.”
Looking ahead to the clash with Scotland, he added: “We know them quite well. This is the third time this year having a go. Hopefully it will be a better brand of rugby than it was tonight.”
TIME LINE: 4 minutes – Ireland penalty: Ian Porter – 3-0; 37 mins – Italy penalty: Riccardo Bocchino – 3-3; Half-time – Ireland 3 Italy 3; 48 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian Porter – 6-3; 72 mins – Italy penalty: Riccardo Bocchino – 6-6; Full-time (80 mins) – Ireland 6 Italy 6; 99 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian Porter – 9-6; Full-time (100 mins) – Ireland 9 Italy 6
IRELAND UNDER-20: Niall Morris (Blackrock College/Leinster); David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Eoin O’Malley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Conor Cleary (Greystones/Leinster), Chris Cochrane (Queen’s University/Ulster); Martin Dufficy (Dublin University/Leinster), Ian Porter (Queen’s University/Ulster); Paul Karayiannis (Queen’s University/Ulster), Jason Harris-Wright (Greystones/Leinster), Stephen Archer (UCC/Munster), Ian Nagle (UCC/Munster), Eoin Sheriff (Lansdowne/Leinster), Kieran Essex (UL Bohemians/Munster), Paul Ryan (Blackrock College/Leinster) (capt), Patrick Mallon (Lansdowne/Leinster).
Replacements used: Michael Entwistle (Ballymena/Ulster) for Mallon (31 mins), James Sandford (Queen’s University/Ulster) for Nagle (62), Ben Barclay (UCD/Leinster) for Archer (67), Stephen Douglas (Ballymena/Ulster) for Harris-Wright (76), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) for Chris Cochrane (10, extra-time second half). Not used: David Moore (Blackrock College/Leinster), Jamie Smith (Ballymena/Ulster).
ITALY UNDER-20: Andrea Pratichetti; Andrea Bacchetti, Roberto Quartaroli, Alberto Chiesa (capt), Edoardo Rotella; Riccardo Bocchino, Carlo Vannini; Andrea De Marchi, Tommaso D’Apice, Massimiliano Ravalle, Emiliano Caffini, Alberto Cazzola, Filippo Giusti, Simone Favaro, Luca Petillo.
Replacements used: Alessandro Castagnoli for Vannini (62 mins), Rudolph Mernone for Caffini (63), Gabriele Morelli for D’Apice (75), Joshua Furno for Giusti (7, extra-time first half), Alberto Marconato for Bocchino (6, extra-time second half). Not used: Lorenzo Sebastiani, Giacomo Bernini.
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)