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Ireland's U20 World Cup challenge falls flat with defeat against five-try Baby Boks

Second defeat means Noel McNamara’s side can now finish fifth at best.

Caelan Doris scored one of Ireland's two tries.
Caelan Doris scored one of Ireland's two tries.
Image: Iconsport/INPHO

South Africa 30

Ireland 17

John Fallon reports from Narbonne

IRELAND WILL BE playing for a mid-tournament finish in the World Rugby U20 Championship after going down to a second defeat in a row.

Noel McNamara’s men had to win this one to have any hopes of reaching the semi-finals but that was dashed by a second-half hat-trick from South Africa Wandisile Simelane.

Ireland will now play Georgia next Thursday and the best they can hope for is to finish in the middle section.

A disastrous start saw Ireland trail 12-0 at the end of the opening quarter, conceding a try after less than a minute when South African scrum-half Zak Burger scored after charging down a kick from his opposite number Jonny Stewart.

Winger Muller du Plessis got a second try for the Baby Boks but did not panic.

Conor Dean settled them with a penalty from 40 metres after 23 minutes.

The Irish set-piece also started making inroads against an excellent South Africa pack and after a few promising attacks were repelled, they got the breakthrough they needed when captain Caelan Doris peeled away from a scrum to score five minutes from the break.

Dean landed the difficult conversion to cut the gap to 12-10 and it seemed Ireland had hit the front when right winger Tom Roche scored but the TMO spotted he had dropped the ball in a tackle before grounding it.

Ireland had an extra man for the opening 10 minutes of the second half after replacement lock PJ Steenkamp was binned.

Ireland made the extra man count when Doris put Michael Sylvester through five minutes after the restart and the full-back stepped inside neatly to score under the posts, with Dean’s conversion pushing Ireland 17-12 in front.

But South Africa hit back and tied the game when centre Wandisile got in for a try and he repeated the dose towards the end of the third quarter to push South Africa 22-17 in front.

Full-back Gianni Lombard took over the kicking duties when Willemse went off injured and he put them eight points clear 11 minutes from time with a penalty in front of the posts before Simelane completed his hat-trick.

South Africa scorers:

Tries: Wandisile Simelane [3], Zak Burger, Muller de Plessis

Conversions: Damian Willemse

Penalties: Gianni Lombard

Ireland scorers:

Tries: Caelan Doris, Michael Sylvester

Conversions: Conor Dean [2]

Penalties: Conor Dean

SOUTH AFRICA: Gianni Lombard; Tyrone Green, Wandisile Simelane, Lyle Hendricks, Muller du Plessis (Lubabalo Dobela 41); Damian Willemse (Manny Rass 48), Zak Burger; Nathan McBeth (Alulutho Tshakweni 62), Dan Jooste (Schalk Erasmus 26), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Sazi Sandi 62); Salmaan Moerat, Ruan Nortje (PJ Steenkamp 28-50 blood, Ruan Vermaak 72); Dian Schoonees, Ben-Jason Dixon (Steenkamp 63), Muller Uys.

IRELAND: Michael Silvester (Leinster) (James McCarthy (Munster 66); Tom Roche (Leinster), Tommy O’Brien (Leinster), James Hume (Ulster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster); Conor Dean (Leinster) (Harry Byrne (Leinster 69), Jonny Stewart (Ulster) (Hugh O’Sullivan (Leinster 58); Jordan Duggan (Leinster) (Bryan O’Connor (Munster 69), Diarmuid Barron (Munster) (Dan Sheehan (Leinster 64), Jack Aungier (Leinster) (Joe Byrne (Leinster 58),; Cormac Daly (Leinster), Jack Dunne (Leinster); Joe Dunleavy (Ulster) (Aaron Hall (Ulster 54), Matthew Agnew (Ulster), Caelan Doris (Leinster).

Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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