We have an indepth look at the two teams ahead of this afternoon’s 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship third round match. Kick off is at 10:30 in Argentina, 14:30 in UK/IRE.
The match should be streamed live here for those of us in the UK and will also be shown on EIR Sports.
Why is this match important?
Neither side can qualify from Pool B as top seeds though there is a way that Ireland could qualify for the top four. It would need Ireland to beat Italy by around 30 points, with a try bonus, and it would need either New Zealand or South Africa, who meet in Pool A, to lose by a similar margin, without a bonus point, or Argentina to beat France in Pool by around 20 points with France not picking up a bonus point.
All highly unlikely. Ireland’s main goal is to maintain their position as second seeds in Pool B
At the moment it is possible for Ireland to finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th but any sort of win against Italy will guarantee them 2nd place, the competition rules as follows.
If, at the completion of the pool phase, two or more teams are level on match points, then the following criteria shall be used in the following order until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:
(i) The winner of the match in which the two tied teams have played each other shall be the higher ranked:
(ii) The team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(iii) The team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(iv) The team which has scored most points in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(v) The team which has scored most tries in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked: and
(vi) If none of the above produce a result, then it will be resolved with a toss of a coin.
Australia have already qualified as top seeds thanks to their win against Ireland so they may rest a lot of front liners against England and England could conceivably pick up a big win. However, as we said, any sort of win against Italy will see Ireland stay in second place, by virtue of their earlier win against England, but any sort of defeat for Ireland, where Italy pick up four more match points than Ireland, would see Ireland finish bottom of the group.
Confused? Let’s just say, any sort of win for Ireland will see them qualify for the 5th Place play offs and leave it at that.
The Current Rankings, and qualifying groups, across the Pools is as follows.
|SOUTH AFRICA U20||2||2||0||0||91||39||52||14||6||2||10|
|NEW ZEALAND U20||2||2||0||0||97||46||51||15||6||2||10|
What happened last time they met?
Ireland recorded a 14 – 34 win the last time these teams met which was in the Six Nations in Italy in February this year.
Italy recorded a 21 – 22 in he last time they met in the World championships in May 2017.
Will that match have any effect on this one?
It’s a case of yes for their last meeting. Italy have 19 players named from that last meeting with 9 starting and 10 named in the replacements.
Ireland have 14 players named from that last meeting, 8 starting and 6 in the replacements. the only Ulster player involved in their last meeting was Angus Kernohan.
The teams will be fairly familiar with each other and Ireland would appear to have the upper hand.
The teams for this afternoon’s meeting are shown below, Ulster players in bold:
|ITALY U20||IRELAND U20|
|Ange Capuozzo (FC Grenoble)||15||Jake Flannery (Cork Constitution)|
|Jacopo Trulla (Valsugana Rugby Padova)||14||Angus Kernohan (QUB)|
|Federico Mori (Rugby Etruschi Livorno)||13||Liam Turner (C) (Dublin University)|
|Damiano Mazza (Rugby Calvisano)||12||Cormac Foley (St Mary’s College)|
|Cristian Lai (Fradis Rugby)||11||Rob Russell (Dublin University)|
|Paolo Garbisi (Rugby Mogliano)||10||Ben Healy (Garryowen)|
|Alessandro Fusco (Rugby Napoli)||9||Colm Reilly (Buccaneers)|
|Lorenzo Michelini (Biella Rugby)||1||Josh Wycherley (Young Munster)|
|Niccolo Taddia (Rugby Rovigo Delta)||2||John McKee (Old Belvedere)|
|Matteo Nocera (Fiamme Oro)||3||Michael Milne (UCD)|
|Nicolae-Cristian Stoian (FIR Academy)||4||Thomas Ahern (Shannon)|
|Thomas Parolo (Rugby Rovigo Delta)||5||Ryan Baird (Trinity College)|
|Angelo Maurizi (L’Aquila Rugby 1936)||6||David McCann (Banbridge)|
|Davide Ruggeri (C) (Rugby Como)||7||Ciaran Booth (Sale Sharks)|
|Antoine Koffi (Rugby Calvisano)||8||Azur Allison (Ballymena)|
|Andrej Marinello (AS Ruggers Tarvisium)||16||Declan Adamson (Clontarf)|
|Matteo Drudi (Frascati Rugby)||17||Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University)|
|Luca Franceschetto (Rangers Rugby)||18||Charlie Ward (Clontarf)|
|Filippo Alongi (I Titani)||19||Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians)|
|Andrea Zambonin (Rangers Rugby)||20||Charlie Ryan (UCD)|
|Andrea Chianucci (Rugby Club I Medicei)||21||Niall Murray (Connacht)|
|Mirco Finotto (Rugby Mogliano)||22||Luke Clohessy (Shannon)|
|Lorenzo Citton (Valsugana Rugby Padova)||23|
|Giacomo Da Re (Rugby Mogliano)||24||Craig Casey (Shannon)|
|Giulio Bertaccini (Amatori Parma Rugby)||25||Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution)|
|Matteo Moscardi (Rugby Rovigo Delta)||26||David Ryan (UCD)|
|Edoardo Mastandrea (Valsugana Rugby Padova)||27||Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD)|
|Michael Mba (Rugby Casale_||28||Max O’Reilly (Dublin University)|
What are the Irish Players Stats?
The updated stats for the Irish players at this level are shown below.
In the case of Angus Kernohan, Dylan Tierney-Martin and Charlie Ryan the stats include U20 Six Nations and Championship stats from 2018.
|14||Angus Kernohan||Queen’s University||Ulster||10||582||0||0|
|13||Liam Turner||Dublin University||Leinster||7||560||0||0|
|12||Cormac Foley||St Mary’s College||Leinster||6||170||1||5|
|11||Rob Russell||Dublin University||Leinster||6||121||0||0|
|1||Josh Wycherley||Young Munster||Munster||7||454||2||10|
|2||John McKee||Old Belvedere||Leinster||5||75||0||0|
|5||Ryan Baird||Dublin University||Leinster||4||153||0||0|
|7||Ciaran Booth||Sale Sharks||IQ Rugby||2||69||0||0|
|17||Tom Clarkson||Dublin University||Leinster||7||547||1||5|
|25||Jonathan Wren||Cork Constitution||Munster||7||552||2||10|
|28||Max O’Reilly**||Dublin University||Leinster||0||0||0||0|
*Uncapped at this level
Where are the key areas?
This one is going to be won or lost up front and it’s here that Italy have the advantage in terms of experience.
The Italians are starting with five of their regular starters in the pack whereas Ireland have only three players that have played more than 80 minutes at this level but they have plenty of experience on the bench.
Despite recording the win there is also the argument that the Italian squad are in a better place than the Irish won. The Italians really should have won against England and Ireland will be trying hard to forget those last twenty minutes against Australia and will be a touch jittery that anything but a win here could derail what has been a hugely successful season.
Who is going to win?
I have an uneasy feeling about this one. To me, looking at the two teams Italy have the marginal advantage in the starting line ups.
Italy will fancy this game for a win but I think Ireland will go into it hoping not to lose.
Ireland’s saving grace is that they can call on huge experience from the bench and that might just be enough in what should be an absorbing game.