The final pool matches of the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship take place on Wednesday.
Australia are the only team to have secured a semi-final berth but the final makeup of the top four teams won’t be known until the culmination of action tomorrow.
Noel McNamara’s Ireland U20 side came into this championship with plenty of expectation and they got their campaign off to an excellent start by securing a bonus-point 42-26 victory over England in the opening round.
However, they came unstuck against an impressive Australian team on Saturday as the toll of playing with 14 men for the majority of the match was evident in the final moments as Ireland leaked tries to succumb to a heavy 45-17 defeat.
The failure to secure a losing bonus-point looks like it will prevent Ireland from reaching the semi-finals, although it is still mathematically possible.
Here we take a look at what needs to happen for Ireland to reach the last four.
In the World Rugby U20 Championship, there are three pools of four teams and the winner of each pool will secure a spot in the semi-finals.
The final semi-final berth will be awarded to the best-placed runner up across the three pools.
First, let’s take a look at the current standings across the three pools.
As you can see, the maximum points which Ireland can finish on is 10 which would come as a result of securing a bonus-point victory against Italy on Wednesday.
That would put them level with South Africa or New Zealand who play each other on Wednesday. As long as the loser of this match finishes without a losing bonus point, Ireland will finish on the same number of points as long as they secure the full five points against Italy.
However, what is most important here is that both South Africa and New Zealand have a points difference of +52 and +51, respectively.
Ireland’s points difference is -12, so Ireland would require a heavy victory over Italy in conjunction with a large victory for either South Africa or New Zealand to claw back that points differential to claim the best runners up spot.
In addition to this, Ireland would also require France to beat hosts Argentina in tomorrow’s final Pool A match OR for Argentina to win comprehensively as to bring down France’s points differential which is currently at +35.
World Rugby U20 Championship Fixtures [Wednesday]:
Georgia v Scotland (KO 2.30 pm)
Italy v Ireland (KO 2.30 pm)
France v Argentina (KO 5 pm)
Wales v Fiji (KO 5 pm)
South Africa v New Zealand (KO 7.30 pm)
England v Australia (KO 7.30 pm)