England extracted revenge for their two defeats by Ireland this season by winning this 5th Place Semi Final 23 – 30 in the World Rugby U20 Championship at Club Old Resian, Rosario. 

I don’t often get the chance to sit down and watch these matches as I’m usually away covering this competition, but with Argentina being a touch too far for The FRU coffers, I managed to catch most of the days games as they unfolded. 

I’d enjoyed the match ups of New Zealand v Wales (exciting), Fiji v Georgia (entertaining ) and Australia v Argentina (awesome) as I sat down to watch South Africa v France on the TV and Ireland v England on the desktop. Perhaps I was spoilt by an absolutely fantastic Australian performance, but I found the Ireland v England game a little mundane and it really only sprang to life in the last ten minutes. 

Up until then it was pretty much an arm wrestle, in appalling conditions, with England on top.

Ireland had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in a first half that featured two yellow cards for English players Hill and Owen, both for high tackles. They weren’t the posturing, intent on doing damage, type of tackles of their first meeting, in this tournament, and England largely kept their discipline, somewhat turning the tables on Ireland by picking up easy points while Ireland laboured away. 

Ireland’s Ben Healy and England’s Josh Hodge had swapped penalties to take the score to 6 – 6 just after the half hour mark. Hodge then made a decisive break to claim a try, which he converted, to give England a 6 – 13 lead as the teams changed ends, England really having done very little bar taking their chances.  

Healy and Hodge again swapped penalties at the start of the second half and a well worked move sent Sam Maunder clear for England’s second try. Hodge converted to give England a 9 – 23 lead. 

Ireland had been limp in attack and it got worse for the Irish youngsters as Dylan Tierney-Martin trudged off for a 10 minute break, for an over enthusiastic tackle, and it was hard to see where any Irish scores were going to come from bar the boot of Healy. 

However, they raised themselves for one last effort and with ten minutes to go they worked a try for Jonathan Wren. Healy added the conversion to make it a seven point game and minutes later it was all square, at 23 all, as replacement No 8 Brian Deeny chased down his own charge down to score close to the posts for Healy to convert. 

Unfortunately for Ireland, this was a more a composed England, than the one they met earlier in the tournament, and despite their third yellow card they controlled the ball for the remainder of the game working a last minute score from Tom Willis. Hodge, of course, converted giving a final score of Ireland 23 England 30.

England now go into the 5th Place Final against Wales on Saturday 22nd June with Ireland dropping to the 7th Place Final where they will face New Zealand, also on Saturday 22nd. 

Starting teams and replacement used. 

IRELAND U20 ENGLAND U20
1 Michael Milne UCD 1 Kai Owen Worcester Warriors
2 Dylan Tierney-Martin Corinthians 2 Will Capon Bristol Bears
3 Charlie Ward Clontarf 3 Joe Heyes Leicester Tigers
4 Charlie Ryan UCD 4 Joel Kpoku Saracens
5 Thomas Ahern Shannon 5 Alex Coles Northampton Saints
6 Ryan Baird Trinity College, Dublin 6 Richard Capstick Exeter Chiefs
7 Ronan Watters St Mary’s College 7 Aaron Hinkley Gloucester Rugby
8 Azur Allison Ballymena 8 Ted Hill Worcester Warriors
9 Craig Casey Shannon 9 Sam Maunder Exeter Chiefs
10 Ben Healy Garryowen 10 Manu Vunipola Saracens
11 Jonathan Wren Cork Constitution 11 Josh Hodge Newcastle Falcons
12 David Ryan UCD 12 Cameron Redpath Sale Sharks
13 Liam Turner Dublin University 13 Fraser Dingwall Northampton Saints
14 Aaron O’Sullivan UCD 14 Ollie Sleightholme Northampton Saints
15 Jake Flannery Cork Constitution 15 Tom De Glanville Bath Rugby
   
16 Declan Adamson Clontarf 16 Nic Dolly Sale Sharks
17 Josh Wycherley Young Munster 17 Olly Adkins Gloucester Rugby
18 Thomas Clarkson Dublin University 18 James Kenny Exeter Chiefs
20 Brian Deeny Clontarf 19 Tom Willis Wasps
21 Niall Murray Connacht 20 Rusiate Tuima Exeter Chiefs
22 Luke Clohessy Shannon 21 Ollie Fox Bath Rugby
27 Angus Kernohan QUB 24 Luke James Sale Sharks

#SUFTUM