Ireland U-20s edged past Japan in Beziers to secure their place in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship
THE Ireland U20s rugby side secured their status in the World Rugby U-20 Championship for next season after sneaking past Japan 39-33 in their relegation play-off in Stade de la Méditerranée, Béziers, France on Sunday morning.
The nail-biting win guaranteed an 11th-place finish for Ireland at the 12-team tournament and with it qualification for the championship in 2019.
But boy did Ireland make hard work of it against gritty opponents! The Irish U-20s were hanging on to a single point lead, 34-33 with 90 seconds remaining when winger Tommy O’Brien struck for a crucial late try in the left corner.
Ireland, with former Munster and Ireland captain Paul O’Connell in their backroom team, led their opponents 22-12 at half-time. Japan outscored their opponents by five tries to four.
It was Ireland’s first win in five fixtures at the 2018 World Championship in France.
Garryowen's Jack Daly, a try-scoring replacement against the Scots, made his first start for Ireland U-20s in the back row.
Meanwhile, Garryowen hooker Diarmuid Barron, a key member of the Irish side during the tournament, wwas ruled out of the game with injury and has returned home.
Ireland are off to a flyer. Jonny Stewart touches down to give them the lead in this #WorldRugbyU20s Championship 11th place playoff.— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 17, 2018
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IRELAND U-20: Michael Lowry (Banbridge/Ulster); James Hume (Banbridge/Ulster), Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Peter Sylvester (UCC/Munster), Tommy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster); Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Jonny Stewart (Queen's University/Ulster); Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Dublin University/Leinster), Jack Aungier (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Cormac Daly (Clontarf/Leinster), Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster), Jack Daly (Garryowen/Munster), Matthew Agnew (Ballymena/Ulster), Caelan Doris (St. Mary's College/Leinster) (capt). Replacements: Dylan Tierney (Corinthians/Connacht), Jakub Wojtkowicz (Sligo/Connacht), Joe Byrne (Dublin University/Leinster), Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), Joe Dunleavy (Malone/Ulster), Hugh O'Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster), Conor Dean (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Tom Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster).