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Irish brutes bully Baby Boks

DAY FOUR WRAP: Ireland knocked hosts South Africa out in the semifinals of the World Rugby Under-20 tournament at the Athlone Stadium near Cape Town on Sunday.


Ireland, the 2016 runners-up, will meet defending champions France in the Final at the Athlone Stadium after coming out on top of two entertaining semifinals in Cape Town.

France will bid for a third consecutive title on the day of the country’s Fête Nationale after coming back from 0-17 down in the first 17 minutes to score seven tries in a fast and furious semifinal against England.

Ireland bullied the Baby Boks into submission – scoring a win that was far more convincing than the 31-12 margin suggested.

Two tries from wing James Nicholson earned the Under-20 Six Nations Grand Slam-winners Ireland a semifinal win over the hosts.

Both Nicholson’s touchdowns were made possible by smart cross-field kicks from Sam Prendergast, as consistent and organised Ireland eased into next week’s Final after weathering an early South African storm.

Until his first, on 37 minutes, Ireland had had to dig deep defensively as South Africa, roared on by the home crowd, looked to be Ireland’s equal in the early play.


However, for all their territory and possession – the Junior Springboks spent 64 percent of the first period in Irish territory, and broke into their 22 time-and-again – they could not make their early advantage count as the solid Irish defence soaked up the pressure.

And Ireland took advantage when Baby Boks back row forward Jannes Potgieter, on as an injury replacement for Ghudian van Reenan, was yellow-carded for dangerous play.

In the 37th minute, on just their second visit to South Africa’s 22, Prendergast made the most of penalty advantage to nudge a cross-field kick into the arms of Nicholson, who had space and time to cross the try-line.

His second on the hour followed a similar pattern. The hard-working Brian Gleeson carried hard over the gainline, replacement centre Sam Berman darted through a gap and – with a penalty advantage – the perennially calm Prendergast flicked the ball off his boot for Nicholson to run for the line.


Having been kept scoreless in the opening period, South Africa had roared into the second half, Imad Khan scoring under the posts after Reagan Izaks – on for Hakeem Kunene at the start of the second half – beat Ireland’s defensive line with just five minutes gone.

Parity, however, lasted no time as Player of the Match Gleeson steam-rollered his way to the try-line from a line-out. Prendergast converted to restore the Under-20 Six Nations Grand Slam winners’ seven-point advantage.

The pressure of apparently unbreakable Irish cohesion was beginning to tell. Five minutes after Nicholson’s second extended their lead, Berman broke through to score their fourth.

More forward pressure – Ireland was marching forward in the scrum – gave Prendergast a shot at goal after 72 minutes. He maintained a perfect match with the boot, adding a penalty to his four conversions.

Five minutes from time, South Africa finally broke through again, Coetzee le Roux crashing over from short-range for the final, consolatory score.

* In the second semifinal, Mark Mapletoft’s side got off to the perfect start, running in two tries in two first-quarter minutes as the 2018 and 2019 champions struggled to get their game going.

Flyhalf Louie Johnson opened England’s account with an early penalty before fullback Sam Harris raced into the corner after latching on to an inside pass from captain Lewis Chessum and Alex Wills, a late change coming into the starting line-up, handed off Théo Attissogbé to add a second in the same area a minute later.

The first half was played at a ridiculous pace. Just two minutes later France roared back with a try of their own through Mathis Ferté, who flirted with touch as he danced into the corner.

Les Bleuets had already had one try ruled out for a forward pass, and came close to scoring another five minutes after Ferté had kickstarted their game, but captain Lenni Nouchi knocked on as he tried to go over the top of a ruck from a metre out.

But Paul Costes was not to be denied a minute later, skirting under the posts after England had failed to clear their lines to pull France back to within three.

Still, the high-intensity action continued.

Chandler Cunningham-South crashed over from a five-metre lineout to extend England’s lead to 10 points once as the first-half drew to a close.

However, France was not to be denied in the second period, opening the scoring with a penalty try seven minutes in.

Replacement England second-row Finn Carnduff was yellow-carded for collapsing a French maul as it rumbled towards the line. Les Bleuets had again been denied moments previously, held up over the line on penalty advantage.

Nouchi made amends for missing out on a score in the first half, crashing over from close range as Les Bleuets made the most of their numerical advantage and took the lead for the first time in the match.

And Mastercard Player of the Match Mark Gazzotti galloped over three minutes later – with England down to 14 for a few more seconds – to extend France’s recently gained lead to 11 with just over half an hour to play.

Neither side could maintain the high pace they had set, and as the sides tired, spaces started opening up. France back-row Oscar Jegou was the first to benefit in the 65th minute, after Nouchi had punched through England’s line.

With six minutes left on the clock, Hugo Reus spun his way over the line, after the French scrum had won the ball against the head.

There was time enough at the end of a non-stop encounter for England’s Cassius Cleaves to go over, and for Jegou to have his second – France’s third – denied for a foot in touch in the lead-in before Reus rounded off a perfect night with the boot with a penalty on the hooter.

* In the fifth-place play-offs Australia held their nerve and their discipline to record a 44-35 sin over New Zealand in a pulsating 12-try Trans-Tasman contest at Athlone Sports Stadium.

New Zealand had to play the last 67 minutes with 14 men after second row forward Tom Allen had his initial yellow card upgraded to red by the TMO bunker for a dangerous clear-out on Lachlan Hooper.

The six-time champions were further handicapped by twice going down to 13 men when blindside flank Malachi Wrampling and then replacement centre Xavi Taele were sent to the sin-bin.

But it was not until captain Teddy Wilson broke away to score his side’s seventh try two minutes from time that Australia finally broke New Zealand’s stubborn resistance.

Wales will face Australia in the fifth-place Final after beating Georgia 40-21.

In the ninth-place play-offs Fiji beat Italy 41-26 and Argentina romped to a 45-20 win over Japan.

The results ensure that Fiji will be playing in the Under-20 Championship next year, but Italy now face another relegation battle on the final day to avoid relegation to the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in 2024.

Italy will face Japan on Friday, who lost 20-45 to Argentina in Paarl in the 400th match in Under-20 Championship history.

Los Pumitas are also assured of their place in the 2024 Championship and will now play Fiji for ninth.

  • All the Sunday scores and scorers follow below

Italy 26-41 Fiji

The scorers

For Italy
Tries: Gasperini, Gallorini, Quattrini, Botturi
Cons: Brisighella 3

For Fiji
Tries: Nalasi, Masiwini, Vocevoce, Finau, Basiyalo
Cons: Ravula 5
Pens: Ravula 2


Italy: 15 Alessandro Gesi, 14 Lorenzo Elettri, 13 Dewi Passarella, 12 Nicola Bozzo, 11 Matthias Douglas, 10 Simone Brisighella, 9 Sebastiano Battara, 8 Jacopo Botturi, 7 David Odiase, 6 Filippo Lavorenti, 5 Alex Mattioli, 4 Enrico Pontarini, 3 Marcos Francesco Gallorini, 2 Giovanni Quattrini (captain), 1 Samuele Taddei.
Replacements: 16 Nicholas Gasperini, 17 Riccardo Bartolini, 18 Federico Pisani, 19 Pietro Turrisi, 20 Carlos Berlese, 21 Lorenzo Casilio, 22 Filippo Bozzoni, 23 Giovanni Sante.

Fiji: 15 Isikeli Basiyalo, 14 Sireli Masiwini, 13 Waqa Nalaga, 12 Pateresio Finau, 11 Manieta Navonovono, 10 Isaiah Ravula, 9 Philip Baselala, 8 Juda Saumaisue, 7 Moti Murray (captain), 6 Sakenasa Nalasi, 5 Nalani May, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Breyton Legge, 2 Ratu Kavaia Tagivetaua, 1 Moses McGoon.
Replacements: 16 Josh Kina, 17 Marika Toga, 18 Lasaro Vuluma, 19 Semi Tokitani, 20 Emosi Natubailagi, 21 Zach Kama, 22 Frank Ralogaivau, 23 Bronson Lee.

Referee: Luc Ramos (France)
Assistant referees: Damian Schneider (Argentina), Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Argentina 45-20 Japan

The scorers

For Argentina
Tries: Soler, Bildosola, Moyano, Chiavassa, Valarolo, Mallia, Elias
Cons: Dicapua 3, Mallia 2

For Japan
Tries: Omachi, Oike
Cons: Naramoto 2
Pens: Naramoto 2


Argentina: 15 Felipe Mallía, 14 Mateo Soler, 13 Ernesto Giudice, 12 Nicolás López González, 11 Ignacio Lucero, 10 Valentino Dicapua, 9 Agustín Moyano, 8 Eliseo Chiavassa (captain), 7 Felipe Bares, 6 Facundo García Hamilton, 5 Efraín Elías, 4 Federico Rolotti, 3 Renzo Zanella, 2 Juan Manuel Vivas, 1 Tomás Bartolini.
Replacements: 16 Valentino Minoyetti, 17 Matías Mendrano, 18 Tomás Rapetti, 19 Mateo Lorezon, 20 Aitor Bildosola, 21 Nicolás Viola, 22 Juan Baronio, 23 Faustino Sánchez Valarolo.

Japan: 15 Yoshitaka Yazaki, 14 Renji Oike, 13 Yoshiki Omachi (captain), 12 Kengo Nonaka, 11 Kosho Muto, 10 Kanjiro Naramoto, 9 Asahi Doei, 8 Tenta Kobayashi, 7 Tomoki Kusuda, 6 Koki Miyashita, 5 Harry Willard, 4 Yuzuki Sasaki, 3 Riku Tomita, 2 Kota Nagashima, 1 Hwang Sena.
Replacements: 16 Takashi Omoto, 17 Tomoki Yumbe, 18 Kosuke Sugiura, 19 Kantaro Tajima, 20 Bunsuke Kurita, 21 Taison Mogami, 22 Yutaro Takahashi, 23 Shota Taira.

Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Dylen November (South Africa)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

New Zealand 35-44 Australia

The scorers

For New Zealand
Tries: Tangitau 2, Wrampling, Springer, Taylor
Cons: Kemar 2
Pens: Kemar 2

For Australia
Tries: Craig 2, Leahy, O’Donnell, Ryan 2, Wilson
Cons: McLaughlin-Phillips 3
Pen: McLaughlin-Phillips


New Zealand: 15 Harry Godfrey, 14 Caleb Tangitau, 13 Aki Tuivailala, 12 Leo Gordon, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Taha Kemara, 9 Noah Hotham (captain), 8 Peter Lakai, 7 Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo, 6 Malachi Wrampling, 5 Will Stodart, 4 Tom Allen, 3 Siale Lauaki, 2 Jack Taylor, 1 Malakai Hala.
Replacements: 16 Vernon Bason, 17 Hunter Fahey, 18 Gabe Robinson, 19 Tahlor Cahill, 20 Che Clarke, 21 Jordi Viljoen, 22 Xavi Taele, 23 Cody Vai.

Australia: 15 Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, 14 Tim Ryan, 13 Henry O’Donnell, 12 Taj Annan, 11 Ronan Leahy, 10 Jack Bowen, 9 Teddy Wilson (captain), 8 Leafi Heka, 7 Nick Baker, 6 Lachlan Hooper, 5 Daniel Maiava-Tapusoa, 4 Toby Macpherson, 3 Nick Bloomfield, 2 Max Craig, 1 Jack Barrett.
Replacements: 16 Liam Bowron, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Trevor King, 19 Ollie McCrea, 20 John Bryant, 21 Klayton Thorn, 22 Mason Gordon , 23 David Vaihu.

Referee: Takehito Namekawa (Japan)
Assistant referees: Ben Breakspear (Wales), Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

Georgia 21-40 Wales

The scorers

For Georgia
Tries: Mamaiashvili, Kakhoidze, Tchamiashvili
Cons: Khutsishvili 3

For Wales
Tries: Lloyd, De La Rua, Hennessey 2, Houston, Westwood
Cons: Edwards 4, Wilde


Georgia: 15 Luka Tsirekidze, 14 Shako Aptsiauri, 13 Tornike Kakhoidze, 12 Nikoloz Ragoevi, 11 Luka Khorbaladze, 10 Petre Khutsishvili, 9 Sandro Jigauri, 8 Lasha Tsikhistavi (captain), 7 Tornike Ganiashvili, 6 Rati Zazadze, 5 Giorgi Nikoladze, 4 Guram Ganiashvili, 3 Irakli Aptsiauri, 2 Tamaz Tchamiashvili, 1 Sergo Abramishvili
Replacements: 16 Basa Khonelidze, 17 Giorgi Mamaiashvili, 18 Davit Mchedlidze, 19 Giorgi Gergedava, 20 Nika Lomidze, 21 Davit Khuroshvili, 22 Gela Kheladze, 23 Luka Kobauri

Wales: 15 Harri Houston, 14 Tom Florence, 13 Louie Hennessey, 12 Joe Westwood, 11 Llien Morgan, 10 Daniel Edwards, 9 Archie Hughes, 8 Morgan Morse, 7 Seb Driscoll, 6 Ryan Woodman (captain), 5 Jonny Green, 4 Liam Edwards, 3 Kian Hire, 2 Lewis Lloyd, 1 Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths.
Replacements: 16 Lewis Morgan, 17 Josh Morse, 18 Louis Fletcher, 19 Mackenzie Martin, 20 Lucas De La Rua, 21 Bryn Bradley, 22 Harri Wilde, 23 Harri Williams.

Referee: Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Damian Schneider (Argentina), Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Ireland 31-12 South Africa

The scorers

For Ireland
Tries: Gleeson, Nicholson 2, Berman
Cons: Prendergast 4
Pen: Prendergast

For South Africa
Tries: Khan, Le Roux
Con: Smith


Ireland: 15 Henry McErlean, 14 Andrew Osborne, 13 Hugh Gavin, 12 John Devine, 11 James Nicholson, 10 Sam Prendergast, 9 Fintan Gunne, 8 Brian Gleeson, 7 Ruadhan Quinn, 6 Diarmuid Mangan, 5 Conor O’Tighearnaigh, 4 Charlie Irvine, 3 Ronan Foxe, 2 Gus McCarthy (captain), 1 Paddy McCarthy.
Replacements: 16 Danny Sheahan, 17 George Hadden, 18 Fiachna Barrett, 19 Evan O’Connell, 20 Dan Barron, 21 Oscar Cawley, 22 Matthew Lynch, 23 Sam Berman.

South Africa: 15 Hakeem Kunene, 14 Jurenzo Julius, 13 Katlego Letebele, 12 Ethan Hooker, 11 Michael Annies, 10 Jean Smith, 9 Imad Khan, 8 Corne Beets, 7 Ghudian van Reenen, 6 Paul de Villiers (captain), 5 Jacob van Heerden, 4 Coetzee le Roux, 3 Dian Heunis, 2 Juan Else, 1 Cornè Lavagna.
Replacements: 16 Samuel Kotze, 17 Phatu Ganyane, 18 Zachary Porthen, 19 Jannes Potgieter, 20 Abulele Ndabambi, 21 Asad Moos, 22 Damian Markus, 23 Regan Izaks.

Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe (England)
Assistant referees: Reuben Keane (Australia), Christopher Allison (South Africa)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

France 52-31 England

The scorers

For France
Tries: Reus, Jegou, Ferté, Costes, Gazzotti, Nouchi, Penalty try
Cons: Reus 6, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pen: Reus

For England
Tries: Cunningham-South, Wills, Cleaves, Harris
Cons: Harris, Johnson 3
Pen: Johnson


France: 15 Mathis Ferté, 14 Maël Moustin, 13 Nicolas Depoortere, 12 Paul Costes, 11 Théo Attissogbé, 10 Hugo Reus, 9 Baptiste Jauneau, 8 Marko Gazzotti, 7 Oscar Jegou, 6 Lenni Nouchi (captain), 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 4 Hugo Auradou, 3 Zaccharie Affane, 2 Pierre Jouvin, 1 Louis Penverne
Replacements: 16 Thomas Lacombre, 17 Lino Julien, 18 Thomas Duchene, 19 Brent Liufau, 20 Matthis Castro Ferreira, 21 Andy Timo, 22 Léo Carbonneau, 23 Clément Mondinat

England: 15 Sam Harris, 14 Tobias Elliott, 13 Joe Jenkins, 12 Joseph Woodward, 11 Cassius Cleaves, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Charlie Bracken, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South, 7 Greg Fisilau, 6 Nathan Michelow, 5 Lewis Chessum (captain), 4 Harry Browne, 3 Afolabi Fasogbon, 2 Nathan Jibulu, 1 Archie McArthur.
Replacements: 16 Finn Theobald-Thomas, 17 Asher Opoku-Fordjour, 18 James Halliwell, 19 Finn Carnduff, 20 Tristan Woodman, 21 Nye Thomas, 22 Connor Slevin, 23 Rekeiti Ma’asi-White.

Referee: Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben Breakspear (Wales), Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)


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