18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
DIVISION B PLAY-OFF RESULTS -
10th-11th Play-Off - Chinese Taipei 10 Romania 35, Queen's Belfast
9th-12th Play-Off - Cook Islands 14 Russia 22, Malone, Belfast
6th-7th Play-Off - Uruguay 21 Chile 3, Bangor
5th-8th Play-Off - Tonga 26 Zimbabwe 11, Bangor
2nd-3rd Play-Off - Canada 19 Georgia 3, Malone, Belfast
1st-4th Play-Off - Italy 31 USA 6, Queen's, Belfast
DIVISION B ROUND-UP - Italy and Canada will meet in Friday's Division B final at the IRB Under-19 World Championship. The Italians struggled to shake off USA at Queen's University in Belfast, where they went into the break 7-6 ahead.
But they produced a commanding second half performance, including two tries for captain Alberto Chiesa, to win their semi final 31-6.
Out-half and captain Nathan Hirayama scored 14 of Canada's points as they defeated Georgia 19-3 in the other semi-final, at Gibson Park, the home of Malone RFC. Georgia's points came from a Beka Tsiklauri penalty in the first half.
Tonga will play off for fifth after recovering from an 11-0 deficit at half-time against Zimbabwe to score four second half tries and emerge as 26-11 winners.
Their opponents will be Uruguay, who recorded their second win over Chile in four days despite being reduced to 14 men at the end of the first half. Juan Verde saw red when his team trailed 3-0, but they responded in style, scoring 21 unanswered points to win it 21-3.
Russia recorded their first win in this year's tournament, defeating the Cook Islands 22-14 at Gibson Park. They will play off for ninth against Romania, who downed Chinese Taipei 35-10 at Queen's.
DIVISION B PLAY-OFF FIXTURES -
- Friday, April 20 -
11th Place Play-Off - Chinese Taipei v Cook Islands, Malone, Belfast, 5.30pm
9th Place Play-Off - Romania v Russia, Queen's, Belfast, 5.30pm
7th Place Play-Off - Chile v Zimbabwe, Malone, Belfast, 7.30pm
5th Place Play-Off - Uruguay v Tonga, Queen's, Belfast, 7.30pm
3rd Place Play-Off - Georgia v USA, Bangor, 6pm
Final - Canada v Italy, Shaw's Bridge, 7.30pm
SUPPORT FOR IRB'S 'KEEP RUGBY CLEAN' PROGRAMME: Players at the IRB Under-19 World Championship participated in a Keep Rugby Clean Day today to help back the International Rugby Board's commitment to drug-free rugby.
All 12 Division B teams, referees and tournament staff wore special t-shirts emblazoned with the Keep Rugby Clean message at Bangor, Malone and Queen's to raise awareness and show their support and commitment to keeping the game drug free, as part of the IRB's Anti-Doping programme run in partnership with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
"Keep Rugby Clean is the International Rugby Board's ongoing anti-doping awareness campaign," said IRB Anti-Doping manager Tim Ricketts. "The IRB is committed to drug-free rugby from age grade rugby through to senior rugby and a key part of the delivery of this programme is the testing of players, both in and out of competition, at tournaments such as the IRB Under-19 World Championship."
"All the 24 teams at the tournament have been positive in their support of the testing and have willingly participated in a anti-doping seminar and outreach quiz, where Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts were presented to those who achieved maximum marks."
In 2006, the IRB conducted a record anti-doping test programme across a range of IRB tournaments and Test matches. In total 941 doping controls were conducted, including 484 in competition tests and 457 out of competition tests that returned four positive tests.
By the time the 2007 IRB Under-19 World Championship is completed, a total of 188 doping controls will have been conducted.
CIYMS MINIS 'OVER THE MOON' WITH SCOTTISH VISIT: Members of the Scotland Under-19 team put the CIYMS RFC Mini section through their paces in glorious sunshine at the club on Saturday afternoon. The kids at CIYMS were over the moon on Saturday when members of the Scottish party came down to take part in the session.
CIYMS RFC Youth Convenor David Reden said: "The club is delighted to be able to host one of the U-19 World championship teams and very pleased that they took the time out to help coach the kids. The Mini section here at CIYMS RFC is going from strength to strength with 140 kids now on the books. To be able to get international rugby players helps raise the profile even more and for that I am eternally grateful to the Scottish players and management."
Commenting on the day, Scottish manager Ian Tomney added: "I'm delighted to support CIYMS RFC and I'm highly impressed with the set-up and enthusiasm of all the coaches and volunteers. The Scottish players are only too happy to help out.
"I hope their pressence encourages some of the kids here to reach international level, particularly the two boys who are in fact Scottish! I would like to wish David Reden and all the coaches and volunteers at CIYMS all the best for the future and thank the club for the kind use of their facilities thoughout the tournament."
At the end of the session, Scotland captain Frazer McKenzie presented the club with a signed Scotland T-shirt and in return he received a rugby ball signed by all the kids that took part in the session.
LEGACY PROGRAMME CONTINUES APACE: The Chile players and management visited the Titanic Exhibition and toured Belfast City Hall on Saturday, where they were invited to sign the visitors' book, having taken in the sights and sounds of the Titanic Exhibition and the architecture of Belfast City Hall.
Later that day, coach Rodrigo Boye and captain Benjamin Del Solar were guests of honour at Carrickfergus RFC for their traditional end of season club dinner.
They were invited by Chile team liaison officer Jimmy McTeggart, who is a former club captain and past President of the Woodlawn Club.
South Africa attended a joint training initiative at St. Pius School on Sunday for twenty Under-12 rugby players and twenty Under-12 Gaelic players from the Magherafelt area and no doubt trying their hand at Gaelic football.
The session was run by the Ulster Rugby Development Officers, with the South Africa players passing on the knowledge that got them to the Division A semi-finals, beating Ireland in the process.
Meanwhile, Romania tested the waters on Sunday when they ventured out with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, based at Donaghadee. The players got to see what the RNLI go through when they ride out on their Saxon Lifeboat.
After returning to dry land, the players were on hand at Donaghadee RFC to help coach the players in the Mini section of the club. Earlier in the week, pupils of Tyrella Primary School welcomed Romania when they called in to pass on some tips. The pupils also received some IRB goodies from the players.
Finally, on Saturday, fresh from qualifying for the semi-finals, Wales went to Shaw's Bridge to watch the McCrea Cup final, which Cooke RFC won after beating Instonians 2nd XV 52-13.