Ireland beaten by Italy at U20 World Championship after missing last-minute kick

Ciaran Frawley wasn't able to convert a late penalty as Peter Malone's side slipped to a 22-21 defeat

Ireland, Italy, U20 World Cup

Image: ©INPHO/World Rugby Pool Images/Achi Gegenavai

It wasn't to be this afternoon for Peter Malone's side in the U20 World Championships and so fine are the margins that the game came down to a single kick.

Ireland will have it all to do when they face Scotland in their next Pool B game, after slipping to a 22-21 defeat to Italy at the AIA Arena in Kutaisi.

Ciaran Frawley, who landed an enormous penalty kick in the second half of the game to extend Ireland's lead to six points, was unable to repeat his heroics as the clock ticked into the red.

First half tries from Danilo Fischetti and Jacopo Bianchi saw the Azzurri rush into an early lead. Antonio Rizzi was at fault for missing his first conversion attempt, but atoned for it at the second time of asking before adding a drop goal before the half.

Conor Dean's record of one from two in the first half got Ireland off the mark, but left them 12 adrift at the break.

It was after the break that Malone's side kicked into gear. Calvin Nash crossed twice in the four minutes after the restart to draw the Irish level. They could have pushed on further, but the TMO judged that Alan Tynan lost the ball before grounding. 

Dean's penalty 17 minutes from time nudged the Irish ahead for the first time in the game and it looked as though the turnaround was on the cards. 

Frawley's kick, 45 metres from the posts, made the gap six with just under 10 minutes to play and looked enough to give Ireland victory.

But it wasn't to be. Massimo Cioffi crossed with five minutes to play and converted his kick to give Italy a one-point lead.

A last-minute penalty miss means Ireland's campaign gets off to a losing start, but Malone will draw confidence with the character his side displayed to rally from 12 points down in the first half of the game.

Video Credit: @eirSport