Connacht U20’s continued their preparations for the interprovincial series with a comfortable 19-8 win over their Italian counterparts at the Sportsground last Wednesday.

An early surge from the kick-off saw Connacht put pressure on the visiting defence and out-half Darragh Leader was unlucky to be brought down metres from the try line after just two minutes.

Connacht kept the foot on the gas and after ten minutes of concerted pressure a Phil O’Neil kick-through was fielded in an off-side position by the Italian defence and Leader put the resulting penalty into touch just outside 5m line.

Connacht won the line-out and from the resulting maul powered forward. Prop Adam Boland was in control as he crashed over for the first try of the day. Darragh Leader added the two points to put the U20’s 7-0 up.

The home side continued to dominate the first half and carried that dominance into the second half when just before the break prop Adam Boland scored Connacht’s second try after a catch and drive from another close-range lineout. The difficult conversion was missed in the strong wind but Connacht held a commanding 12-0 lead.

Italy’s out-half Filippo Buscema attempted a penalty kick five minutes into the second half but the wind drew the ball just wide. That was the start of a period of significant Italian dominance and, 15 minutes later fullback Alessandro Torlai scored Italy’s first points from a penalty kick in front of the posts.

Connacht responded well and some slick passing and aggressive ball-carrying left replacement prop John Conroy free to race in for the third try of the day. Leader added the conversion to seal the game for Connacht.

A mix up on the sideline left 16 players on the pitch and as a result, the good efforts which led to Aidan Connaughton’s ‘try’ were in vain and, with just seconds left on the clock, Italy rumbled forward with a rolling maul and replacement  Samuel Seno was at the back to claim Italy’s only try of the match.

The final score at the Sportsground Connacht U20 19 – Italy U20 8  

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