Italy edge past SA A
REPORT: Italy's first half performance proved more than enough to secure them a 23-20 historic victory over South Africa A in the second match of the Under-19 International Series.
The Italians put on a marvellous first half performance which saw them lead 17-8 at the break.
The informed flyhalf Antonio Rizzi made sure his side took most of the point with his boot while No.8 Giovanni Licata put in all the hard work as he had the upper hand at the breakdown.
Italy made they intentions clear from the get-go. With just 2 minutes on the clock, they had the first opportunity to register some points on the board after SA A conceded a penalty. Rizzi made the distance but the direction not on point.
After 10 minutes of play, the Italians broke the deadlock having played most of the rugby in the SA A's 22. Their onslaught was rewarded with a try thanks to the right wing Giovanni D’Onofrio going down in the corner. Flyhalf Antonio Rizzi stepped up to added the extras from the touchline, 7-0.
After conceding another penalty the SA A side found themselves again on the back foot. The No.8 Giovanni Licata made a perfect break from his own half to put the speedy Giovanni D’Onofrio en route for his second try of the match. Rizzi scored another perfect conversion from the touchlines just shy of the 20 minute’ mark.
Minutes later SA A hooker Dylan Richardson put a halt on the Italians scoring as he prevented the ball from being grounded.
The SA A side absorbed most of the pressure, Lubabalo Dobela intercepted a poor Italian off-load and made a good run, the flyhalf was eventually tackled before his crucial pass finds the likes of Cameron Hufke who registered the hosts first try and narrow the score, 5-17.
The try seemed to ignite the South African's spirit as they finished the first half the better side. Just over 30 minutes, Danilo Fischetti received his marching orders, the Italians were forced to finished with 14-man, as the final minutes of the second half shifted to the SA A side. Lubabalo Dobela slotted over an easy penalty on the stroke of halftime.
The second half commenced and again SA A had trouble getting out of their block, it did not look like the visitors were playing with 14-man. They took on SA A with the same intends as Licata took on the role as the pacesetter of the Italian attack. On 43 minutes SA A conceded a penalty, Rizzi stepped up to make it 20-8.
SA A made use of the ball as their hit back with a try of their own thanks to scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba who made a gutsy run beating two defenders to score on 46 minutes. Abner van Reenen stepped up to add the extras.
At 50 minutes the two teams were locked at 20-all thanks to a Van Reenen's try, some great passes among the backline ensured the try scorer bounce over the try-line.
With just seven minutes’ left of play, SA A conceded yet another penalty inside their own 22. Flyhalf Rizzi did a good job as he slotted over an easy kick to give his side the 3-point lead.
The final score 23-20 to Italy.
For SA School A:
Tries: Cameron Hufke, Sanele Nohamba, Abner van Reenen
Cons: Abner van Reenen
Pens: Lubabalo Dobela
Tries: Giovanni D’Onofrio 2
Cons: Antonio Rizzi 2
Pens: Antonio Rizzi 3
Yellow card: Danilo Fischetti on 33 minutes.
SA School A: 15 Abner van Reenen, 14 Austin Davids, 13 Louritz van der Schyff (captain), 12 Sicelo Tole , 11 Cameron Hufke, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Jessie Johnson, 7 Mark Snyman, 6 Athi Magwala, 5 Christopher Havenga, 4 Jaco van Tonder, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Gugu Nelani.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Keagan Glade, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Ryno Pieterse, 21 Dian Schoonees, 22 Zinedine Booysen, 23 Tyrone Green, 24 Tadendaishe Mujawo, 25 Janco van Heyningen, 26 Ayabonga Oliphant.
Italy: 15 Massimo Cioffi, 14 Giovanni D’Onofrio, 13 Ludovico Vaccari, 12 Dario Schiabel, 11 Yannick Abanga, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Federico Gubana, 8 Giovanni Licata, 7 Lorenzo Masselli (captain), 6 Jacopo Bianchi, 5 Edoardo Iachizzi, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Marco Manfredi, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Matteo Luccardi, 18 Michele Mancini-Parri, 19 Nicola Pomaro, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Nardo Casolari, 22 Giovanni Lucchin, 23 Michelangelo Biondelli, 24 Marco Zanon, 25 Niccolò Mori, 26 Simone Cornelli
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Nathan Swartz (South Africa), Gabriel Chirnoga (Italy)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)