Teneggi kicks Italy Under-20s to historic victory over England

Two Nicolo Teneggi penalties saw Italy claim their first ever Six Nations Under-20s victory over England on a historic night in Treviso.

Two Nicolo Teneggi penalties saw Italy claim their first ever Six Nations Under-20s victory over England on a historic night in Treviso.

Teneggi struck early in both halves and though he missed two more presentable kicks which could have made the winning margin more comfortable, the Azzurrini’s stoic defence frustrated England throughout the 80 minutes and saw Alan Dickens’ side draw a blank.

Deago Bailey’s disallowed try in the first half was the closest the visitors came at a raucous Stadio Comunale di Monigo as England’s hopes of a second consecutive Grand Slam were ended in dramatic fashion.

Italy began the game on the front foot and spurned an early opportunity to score the game’s opening try.

Following sustained pressure in the England 22, a precise crossfield kick found Lorenzo Pani but the Benetton man was unable to gather the ball cleanly.

A penalty advantage ensured Italy’s strong start resulted in points on the board, Teneggi slotting between the posts in the sixth minute to hand his side the lead.

England responded well and thought they had forged ahead themselves when a neat move saw Bailey go over in the corner on 17 minutes, only for the try to be disallowed for crossing in the build-up.

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The visitors’ indiscipline halted any meaningful momentum in the early stages and they should have fallen further behind after conceding their seventh penalty inside the opening 20 minutes. This time, however, they received a let off when Teneggi’s effort slid wide of the right upright from a presentable position.

The wet conditions saw handling errors become commonplace as the half wore on and Italy’s determined defence kept England at bay as Dickens’ youngsters turned up the heat before the break.

Dewi Passarella superbly ripped possession from Tom Litchfield 10 metres out and Alfie Bell was even closer to the line with a minute of the half remaining, only for Italy’s pack to force the lock backwards and earn themselves a scrum.

The second half started in a similar vein to the first, with Italy dominating possession and quickly earning themselves a kickable penalty.

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Teneggi did the necessary from a similar range to his earlier miss to make amends and put his side 6-0 to the good.

England began to ring the changes in search of a response and soon found some rare space on the left wing but the door was quickly shut on debutant Francis Moore, who was then penalised for not releasing.

Jamie Benson saw his 53rd-minute penalty strike the post as England attempted to halve the deficit and the home pack remained dominant at the scrum, ensuring the visitors could not make the most of a good position when Passarella spilled the rebound.

Having once again survived a spell of English pressure unscathed, Italy went back on the attack and almost broke through when Pani surged down the right flank and just couldn’t release an offload to a marauding Alessandro Garbisi in time.

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Teneggi then missed his second gettable kick of the evening, following in Benson’s footsteps by striking the upright to keep England within a converted score of their hosts with quarter of an hour remaining.

It was a deficit the visitors were unable to eat into as Italy’s defensive brick wall remained firmly intact, the hosts stealing a lineout with 90 seconds to play to end England’s final shot at redemption.

The final whistle was met with an ecstatic reception by those in blue on the pitch and in the stands, with the celebrations set to continue long into a famous night for Italian rugby.


A case could have been made for any of the Italian players on display, particularly in the pack, following a heroic defensive effort.

Ultimately it was prop Riccardo Genovese who picked up the honours having played a key role in his side’s set-piece dominance.