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McNamara's Ireland handed tough draw for U20 World Championship
England, Australia and Italy await in this summer’s tournament.

IRELAND’S POOR PERFORMANCE at last summer’s U20 World Championship has cost them a difficult draw for this year’s tournament, which will be staged in Argentina in June.

Noel McNamara’s side finished a disappointing ninth in France in 2018 and the tournament seeding system means Ireland will face England, Australia and Italy in the pool stages this time around.

Liam Turner, Sean French and John Hodnett celebrate Cormac Foley's try Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Ireland U20s will travel to Argentina this summer. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland, who are currently three from three in this year’s Six Nations, will open their campaign against England, last year’s runners up, on Tuesday 4 June in Santa Fe at 7.30pm Irish time.

Matchday two will see McNamara’s charges face Australia at the same venue on Saturday 8 June, before the final pool game against Italy on Wednesday 12 June [both 2.30pm Irish time].

The opening game is a repeat of Ireland’s Six Nations victory over England on the first weekend of this year’s championship, as the hosts produced a stunning performance at Cork’s Musgrave Park. 

Home favourites Argentina, Wales and World Rugby U20 Trophy 2018 winners Fiji have been drawn in Pool A, while Pool C consists of six-time winners New Zealand, South Africa, Georgia and Scotland.

The cities of Rosario and Santa Fe will play host to 30 matches played over five matchdays across three venues from 4-22 June, with Ireland’s pool games to be played at Club de Rugby Ateneo Inmaculada. 

Once the pool stages are complete, the tournament semi-finals will take place on Monday 17 June, with the final and play-offs down for decision on Saturday 22 June.

Ireland’s best performance at the tournament, which is now in its 12th year, was back in 2016 when the side containing Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale advanced to the final only to be beaten by hosts England. 

Upon confirmation of the tournament schedule, World Rugby vice-chairman Agustín Pichot said: “The U20 Championship has proven itself to be a very important competition for the uncovering and development of the future stars of our game and attracting new, young fans to the sport.

With Rugby World Cup 2019 on the horizon these young players will have no shortage of inspiration to take the next step towards fulfilling their rugby dreams.

“The 2018 edition of the U20 Championship in France was an outstanding success and it is a great honour for Argentina to take the pass and host this prestigious competition. The 12 participating nations will experience a warm Argentinian welcome and we look forward to an excellent tournament with enthusiastic fans and spectacular action on the field of play.”

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Ireland U20 Pool B fixtures: 

  • Tuesday 4 June: Ireland v England, 7.30pm
  • Saturday 8 June: Ireland v Australia, 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 12 June: Ireland v Italy, 2.30pm

Full schedule available here.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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