World Rugby U20 Championship: Ireland beat Italy 38-16 but miss out on semi-finals

Foley
Cormac Foley finished off an outstanding team move for Ireland's second try
World Rugby U20 Championship: Italy v Ireland
Italy (7) 14
Tries: Fusco, Penalty Try, Con: Garbisi
Ireland (31) 38
Tries: Milne, Foley, Allison, Russell, Penalty Try Cons: Healy 4 Pen: Healy

Ireland have missed out on a place in the U20 World Championship semi-finals despite a bonus-point win over Italy in Santa Fe.

Noel McNamara's side finished second in Pool B with 10 points from three games.

Needing five points to be in with a chance of reaching the final four, Ireland flew out of the traps with four tries before half-time.

However Argentina's win over France later on Wednesday ended Irish semi-final hopes.

With Australia already certain to finish top of Pool B, Ireland's hopes of reaching the next stage rested on claiming the best runners-up spot.

However France claimed a losing bonus-point in a 47-26 defeat by Argentina to ensure that they would finish second in Pool A with 11 points.

Ireland impress early on

Knowing that they needed to rack up the scores, Ireland wasted little time in the search for tries and were rewarded for a spell of sustained pressure after eight minutes when prop Michael Milne drove over from close range.

Ben Healy, given the nod at fly-half having been among the replacements in the opening two games, enjoyed a flawless kicking display and edged Ireland further ahead from the tee in a one-sided opening period.

Cormac Foley added a second try as the Irish backs once again displayed their confidence with ball in hand, with the Leinster centre crossed after collecting Rob Russell's inside ball.

Poor handling stymied Italian attempts to work their way back into the contest before Ireland resumed position in opposition territory as Azur Allison darted over following more sustained pressure.

The pick of the tries came from Russell who secured the bonus-point after just 37 minutes, scoring in the corner after an outrageous 'no-look' offload from Doherty.

Italy eventually found some joy of their own as their increasing dominance at the scrum was rewarded in the final play of the second half as Alessandro Fusco snuck over.

Ben Healy
Fly-half Ben Healy impressed in his first start of the tournament

Buoyed by their success at the scrum Italy threatened to mount an unlikely comeback when they were awarded a penalty try three minutes into the second period.

Although Ireland soon regained their composure they were unable to offer the same threat that had seen them seize control of the game, although they did extend their advantage through a penalty try of their own.

Tiring bodies in the warm conditions appeared to take their toll as the pace of the game dropped considerably despite both sides continuing to press for further scores.

The final result brings Ireland's points difference tally to 12, still 39 behind New Zealand who sit behind South Africa in Pool C.