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U-19 World Championship: Day Nine Bulletin

U-19 World Championship: Day Nine Bulletin

…Division B Play-Offs/Final…Belfast ’07 – Teams Out And About…McAleese Wants Winning Send-Off…Jones To Referee Final…



– 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

BELFAST ’07 – TEAMS OUT AND ABOUT: As the 2007 IRB U-19 World Championship draws to a close, there seems to be no stopping the off-the-field activities of the 24 teams on site in Belfast and Bangor.

With their big Division A final against New Zealand just days away, South Africa got in some practice by playing tag rugby with pupils from the Sandleford Special School.

Thursday saw pupils from the school join the Baby ‘Boks for a game at the team’s base at The Hilton, Templepatrick. Sandleford is a school for children with special needs in Coleraine.

The Samoan coaches and players were on hand at The Europa Bus Station on Thursday to tell the local people of Belfast all about their lives back home in the South Pacific. There were also some impromptu renditions of the haka, with lessons also provided for the locals!

The popular Fijian touring party continue to be busy – they held an open training session at Ards RFC on Thursday, ahead of their final match of the tournament against Japan on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, the Fijian the players were at Eddie Irvine’s Sports Complex in Bangor where they took part in go-kart races. Thankfully for the coaching staff, none of their players picked up any driving-related injuries!

Fiji’s head coach Josua Toakula and assistant coach Fereti Verebula also ran a coaching clinic for 14 and 15 year-olds at Regent House Grammar School in Newtownards, earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the IRB Under-19 World Championship officials played in a golf day with the Ulster Society of Rugby Football Referees at Royal Belfast Golf Course, Craigavad.

The Australian players took their minds off their play-off defeat to South Africa by having a go at ‘hurling’ on Wednesday. They were enthusiastically coached in one of Ireland’s most popular sports by the school teams from Rathmore Grammar School.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands joined the growing list of teams that have visited the Giants’ Causeway in recent weeks – no doubt comparing the Irish Sea with their own waters back in the South Pacific.

As part of the tournament’s Legacy programme, Chile’s coaches and players ran a training session for 160 children at Belfast High School on Wednesday.

MCALEESE WANTS WINNING SEND-OFF: Irish coach Charlie McAleese reckons a return to Ravenhill could be exactly what his side need to spur them on to a play-off win over Scotland tomorrow afternoon.

By a twist of fate, Ireland’s final match at the 2007 U-19 World Championship – a 9th-10th place play-off – will be back at Ravenhill, where it all begin for them against Australia on April 5.

The opposition will be familiar – the Scots were agonisingly beaten by an injury-time try from Eoin O’Malley as Ireland edged their Celtic cousins 13-12 in the pool stages, eleven days ago.

McAleese admitted: “We badly want ninth place. I have no doubt that (Scotland coach) Peter Wright’s view will be, ‘revenge will be sweet’ and we will have to get ourselves up for that.

“I don’t think there will be much hanky ball around Ravenhill at 3.30pm on Saturday. It will a fairly feisty and tight encounter where pride will come to the fore and hopefully we can get past the Scots again.”

The hosts have made a big contribution to the excellent attendance figures at the tournament so far and a third Irish win in five games would surely delight the Ravenhill faithful.

“We have crept into the back door of the finals day at Ravenhill, but not the way we wanted to,” McAleese told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It is nice to be there where the razzmatazz will be for these boys. They deserve another outing there.

“The supporters may turn up early again, and certainly with a bit of good weather it could be a fun day and one that promises an exciting day of rugby.

“The two finals should be very exciting and close in what has been a fantastic tournament, not just for Irish but also Ulster rugby.”

Tickets for Saturday’s triple header at Ravenhill – Ireland v Scotland, Australia v Wales (3rd-4th place play-off) and New Zealand v South Africa (final) – can be purchased at the gate.

If you cannot make it to the home of Ulster Rugby, here will also be live coverage of the 3rd-4th place play-off and the final on BBC 2 Northern Ireland and Setanta Sports Ireland.

JONES TO REFEREE FINAL: Welsh official James Jones has been handed the honour of refereeing the 2007 IRB U-19 World Championship final between New Zealand and South Africa at Ravenhill this Saturday.

Jones, who has refereed four games so far in the tournament – two in both Division A and B, will be assisted by touch judges Neil Paterson of Scotland and Ireland’s David Wilkinson, with Julian Pritchard acting as television match official for the tie, which has a 7.30pm kick-off.

Wilkinson works as the IRFU’s Referee Development Officer for Ulster.

The Division B final at Shaw’s Bridge tonight, will be refereed by New Zealand’s Matt Stanish with David Keane of Ireland and Portugal’s Joao Mourinha on touch judge duty. The showdown between Italy and Canada kicks off at 7.30pm.

Keane also works as a Referee Development Officer for the IRFU, with Leinster as his territory. The Old Belvedere clubman will be the man in the middle for Saturday’s fifth place play-off between England and France at Shaw’s Bridge (kick-off 3.30pm).

Ireland’s ninth-tenth place play-off against Scotland (Ravenhill, kick-off 3pm) will be whistled by English official Dean Richards.