Italy qualify for 2010 Junior Rugby Trophy

(IRB.COM) Saturday 31 October 2009
 
 Italy qualify for 2010 Junior Rugby Trophy
Italy will play in the 2010 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy

Italy beat Georgia 16-3 to win the European Under 19 Championship in Coimbra, Portugal and qualify as the region's representative for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2010.

The top-seeded Italians were the pre-tournament favourites, having been relegated from the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship in Japan earlier this year, and reached the decisive match with a second convincing 40-10 win against Spain.

The final against Georgia was a far closer affair, pitting the Italians against the only other side in the eight-team field to have played at IRB age grade level in recent years.

The Georgians finished third in the inaugural IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Santiago, Chile in 2008, and were a close match for the Azzuri.

Wing Giovanbattista Venditti's try gave the Italians an early lead but after Tommaso Ioannone had converted to make the score 7-0, Ushangi Mchedlishvili slotted a penalty to reduce the lead to just four points at the break.

The second half was all Italy, however, the number one seeds coping better with the raft of substitutions made by both coaches and controlling territory cleverly to allow Ioannone to score three penalty goals and cement the win, 16-3.

In the ranking finals, Spain beat Russia 27-24 to finish third, hosts Portugal beat Poland 22-10 to finish fifth and Belgium edged Germany 10-5 for seventh place.

IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2010

Italy's qualification swells the field of teams confirmed for the 2010 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy to six, joining defending champions Romania and other regional qualifiers Zimbabwe (Africa), Papua New Guinea (Oceania), 2008 winners Uruguay (South America) and Japan (Asia).

The remaining places will be filled by the Host Union and the North American qualifier, be that Canada - another side relegated from the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship - or USA, the side beaten by Romania in the Trophy final in Kenya back in April.