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Cape storms deny Australia a semi spot

NEWS: World Rugby confirmed that the Under-20 Championship match between Ireland and Australia at the Athlone Stadium has been cancelled.

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World Rugby issued a statement on Tuesday, revealing that the highly anticipated match between Ireland and Australia is called off.

The teams were set to kick off at 14.00 (GMT+ two hours)  local time in a match to decide who would finish top of Pool B and advance to next Sunday’s semifinals.

However, inclement weather in the Cape Town area resulted in the cancellation of the match, leaving the Irish to top the pool and progress without having to kick a ball on match day three.

Australia required victory over Ireland to finish in the tournament’s top four but the washout leaves them stranded in second place in their pool.

Australia U20 head coach Nathan Grey will now prepare his side to contest the fifth to eight bracket in their two remaining games at the tournament, with their next opponent to be determined later today.

World Rugby’s official statement read: “Due to heavy rainfall in the Cape Town region on Tuesday, the pitch at Athlone Stadium has been assessed in partnership with organisers and match officials and is currently declared not safe to play.

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“As a result, the first match scheduled at this venue between Ireland U20 and Australia U20 has been cancelled and as per the tournament rules, both teams have been awarded two competition points.

“The pitch will be assessed again ahead of the two remaining World Rugby U20 Championship matches due to take place at this venue and will only go ahead if the weather conditions improve, and the pitch is sufficiently drained for rugby to be played in safe conditions.”

An update was later issued after it was confirmed that the France versus Wales and South Africa against England games would go ahead as scheduled.

“After further assessments made by organisers and match officials at Athlone Stadium, the pitch has been sufficiently drained to allow rugby to resume in safe conditions.

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“World Rugby U20 Championship matches remaining at the venue including France U20 v Wales U20 (16.30 GMT+2) and South Africa U20 v England U20 (19.00 GMT+2) will go ahead as scheduled. Weather and pitch conditions will continue to be monitored closely through the rest of the day.”

 

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