Ireland U-20s bid for World Cup final spot

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella

Ireland U-20s bid for World Cup final spot

THE Irish U-20s will face Argentina in the Junior World Championship semi-final today, Monday, after topping Pool A with three wins from three.

After defeating Grand Slam champions Wales and reigning World champions New Zealand, the Ireland U-20s overcame Georgia 35-7 on Wednesday night to set up their mammoth date with Argentina.

Young Munster’s Ben Betts has been included at tighthead prop in the side to face the junior Pumas having been rested for the victory over Georgia last day out.

Shannon back-row forward Kelvin Brown started for the Irish side against the Georgians but was replaced due to an injury in the first half.

Brown is named on the replacement bench for this evening’s semi-final. Munster Academy manager Peter Malone is forwards coach with the Irish U20s.

Ireland topped Pool A and qualified for the last-four as second seeds (13 points) behind tournament hosts England (14 points), who came from behind to beat Australia and advance as Pool B winners.

Argentina (13 points) caught the eye in winning Pool B, beating France, South Africa and Japan along the way.

Ireland played Argentina in the pool stages of last year's World Rugby U-20 Championship in Italy, emerging with an 18-16 victory thanks to a terrific late penalty from Munster out-half Tomas Quinlan.

Speaking ahead of today’s semi-final, Ireland U-20 head coach Nigel Carolan said. Speaking ahead of the semi-final, Carolan said: "The players have done really well to get themselves into a World Championship semi-final.

”There's a great belief amongst this group and they've shown what they can do as a team over the course of the last number of games.

Argentina are going to present another big test for us. They have a lot of physicality up front as well as pace out wide so we are going to need to be at the top of our game.”

World Rugby U-20 Championship semi-finals: Monday, June 20: Ireland v Argentina - Manchester City Academy Stadium, 5.30pm (live TG4/Sky Sports 3 HD); England v South Africa - Manchester City Academy Stadium, 7.45pm (live TG4/Sky Sports 3 HD)