Italy complete famous double over England on Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series Finals Day

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Italy celebrate after Filippo Lazzarin scores a try against England on their way to a historic victory
Italy celebrate after Filippo Lazzarin scores a try against England on their way to a historic victory

Italy recorded an unprecedented double over England in Treviso, edging a pulsating encounter 38-31 on Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series Finals Day, writes Josh Graham in Treviso.

The home side prevailed 6-0 at the same venue in this year’s Six Nations for their first-ever win over England at this level but this spectacle in sweltering heat could hardly have been more different.

Scores for Tommaso Scramoncin, Ross Vintcent, Filippo Lazzarin and a penalty try, plus seven points from fly-half Nicolo Teneggi were enough to give Italy a 29-19 lead at the break, despite England crossing through Tom Carr-Smith, Ollie Fletcher and Iwan Stephens.

A Teneggi penalty and Lorenzo Pani drop goal put Italy 16 points to the good but tries for England skipper Emeka Ilione and replacement Tom Lockett ensured a nervy finale.

The hosts could even afford to fluff three simple penalty chances before sub Giovanni Sante slotted one to finally end England’s dogged resistance and close out a famous victory in the battle of the second-place Pool finishers.

Italy struck first with a Teneggi penalty, much to the delight of the home crowd - many of whom would have witnessed the same man kick the Azzurrini to victory against the same opposition earlier this year.

However, sniping scrum-half Carr-Smith darted around the edge of the ruck to go under the posts from close range to give England the lead.

A stunning break and kick from loosehead prop Luca Rizzoli left many wondering if there was a missing number on his shirt.

That got the Italian crowd on their feet before Pani sliced through and offloaded to No.9 Andrea Cuoghi whose pass to Dewi Passarella was deliberately knocked on by England fly-half Jed Walsh.

With the tryline begging, Walsh was given ten in the bin and Italy a penalty try to regain the advantage.

That lasted little more than two minutes, however, as despite being down to 14, England rallied impressively to score two tries in two minutes.

First hooker Fletcher snuck over from close range after Ethan Grayson’s carry made inroads.

Then Stephens raced down the right wing to score after being set free by lock Charlie Rice’s deft pop off the floor following an awful mix-up between Italy full-back Pani and wing Lazzarin as they attempted to gather Carr-Smith’s well-judged box kick.

Italy finally made use of their numerical advantage as hooker Scramoncin applied the finishing touch to an unstoppable maul, Teneggi adding the extras to reduce the deficit to two points as Walsh rejoined the action.

Captain Vintcent - who is off to England to study Economics at Exeter University in September - took the ball at full tilt to race over the line untouched and give Italy the lead.

Teneggi’s touchline conversion struck the upright to keep the visitors within three but they went in ten points down at the break after Lazzarin scooped up Cuoghi’s loose pass and went under the sticks in the last action of the half.

Teneggi’s boot and a Pani drop goal crucially pushed Italy more than two scores ahead just seven minutes into the second half.

Pani’s high tackle on Rekeiti Ma'asi-White earned him ten minutes in the bin and England immediately made Italy pay as captain Ilione wriggled over in the corner.

Full-back Sam Harris’ conversion slipped just wide before Teneggi uncharacteristically also missed two very kickable penalties in quick succession to put Italy two converted scores ahead.

Skipper Ilione’s crucial turnover kept Italy at bay after a clever chip through and replacement Tom Lockett’s try set up a grandstand finish with Harris’ conversion narrowing the gap to just four points with just over ten minutes to play.

Replacement Sante spurned another gilt-edged chance to ease the nerves of the increasingly edgy crowd at Benetton’s Stadio Comunale di Monigo, but he made no mistake second time around, sparking delirium from all those in blue.

The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg

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