Buoyed by their first win of the tournament against Scotland, the Ireland Under-20s now have a chance to gain revenge on South Africa and qualify for the 5th-6th place play-off at the IRB Junior World Championship.
2011 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: 5TH-8TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Wednesday, June 22
IRELAND U-20s v SOUTH AFRICA U-20s , Stadio Plebiscito, Padova, 8.10pm local time/7.10pm Irish time
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to face South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championship has been named.
This match forms part of the 5th-8th place play-offs at the tournament in Italy, with the final placings to be decided by the last games next Sunday.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has made just one change to the side that won against Scotland in their final pool match – the versatile David Doyle starts in the back row in place of Dominic Gallagher.
Finlay Bealham and Alex Kelly have been named among the replacements for what is the sides’ second meeting in eight days. The Baby ‘Boks beat Ireland 42-26 in the pool stages.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ruddock said: “It’s not that often that you get the opportunity to benchmark yourselves against the might of South Africa at this age grade and so having a second chance within eight days is rather unique.
“It is up to my players to put into practice the lessons learnt last time out. If we do that then we will improve our performance. If we improve on our last performance then we will be in the game big time.”
Meanwhile, Dawie Theron has made nine changes to the South Africa team that lost 26-20 to England last weekend.
Blue Bulls full-back Ulrich Beyers returns to the starting fifteen, while the Golden Lions’ Jaco Taute shifts to outside centre where he will partner Francois Venter.
Springbok Sevens winger Tshotsho Mbovane makes his second start of the tournament as does 18-year-old out-half Johan Goosen who earns his fourth Under-20 cap.
Jean Cook comes into the side in place of the injured Ruan Venter, while captain Arno Botha teams up with Cornell du Preez and Francois Kleinhans as the Baby ‘Boks’s back row combination.
There is also a new front row selected for the Ireland clash with hooker Michael van Vuuren joining props Stephan Kotze and Nic Schonert up front.
IRELAND U-20: Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht); Andrew Conway (Blackrock/Leinster), Brendan Macken (Blackrock/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), Andrew Boyle (UCD/Leinster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Kieran Marmion (UWIC/Exile); James Tracy (UCD/Leinster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) (capt), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht), David Doyle (UCD/Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster).
Replacements: Finlay Bealham (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Conor Carey (Ballymena/Ulster), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht), Shane Buckley (Garryowen/Munster), Peter du Toit (UCD/Leinster), James McKinney (Queen’s University/Ulster), Alex Kelly (UCD/Leinster).
SOUTH AFRICA U-20: Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls); Tshotsho Mbovane (Western Province), Jaco Taute (Golden Lions), Francois Venter (Blue Bulls), Wandile Mjekevu (Golden Lions); Johan Goosen (Free State), Pieter Rademan (Free State); Stephan Kotze (Free State), Michael van Vuuren (Free State), Nic Schonert (KwaZulu-Natal), Jean Cook (Free State), Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Francois Kleinhans (KwaZulu-Natal), Cornell du Preez (Leopards), Arno Botha (Blue Bulls) (capt).
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (Blue Bulls), John Roy Jenkinson (Leopards), Carl Wegner (Free State), Nizaam Carr (Western Province), Lohan Jacobs (Blue Bulls), John Welthagen (Leopards), Paul Jordaan (KwaZulu-Natal).
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant Referees: Carlo Damasco, Alan Falzone (both Italy)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 9/2; Draw: 25/1; South Africa U-20s to win: 1/7
Pre-Match Quotes: Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s) – “I think we acquitted ourselves very well against them (South Africa in our pool game) and we certainly didn’t look inferior to them in a lot of ways. And we are particularly kicking ourselves looking back that we lost to England.
“We gave them a 13-point head start through a couple of basic errors and put ourselves in a winning position with just two or three minutes to go. We felt that we let them off the hook and it just shows how good they are after they breezed past South Africa and into the top tier.
“It shows on our day that we can give anyone a game and that we have definitely improved. I though our defence in particular improved against a very tough, industrious Scotland team who just wouldn’t give up.
“We looked back at the video and said if we could go back and play that again tomorrow we would do a few things differently – like not missing our kicks to touch which allowed them to run at us more and more. That is one thing we need to get right.”
Arno Botha (South Africa U-20s) – “There’s been a great fighting spirit in the squad during the last couple of weeks, and while we were disappointed at Saturday’s defeat against England, I believe the players are going to stand up and aim to end this tournament on a high.
“All of us who were involved in Saturday night’s defeat know that we let ourselves down. We let ourselves down, our coaches, management team and South Africa.
“We know we are capable of much better performances than what we have showed here in Italy. There are two more games left in the tournament, and all we can do for now, is simply to win both those matches.
“Our goals for the tournament naturally have changed, and we now want to ensure that we leave Italy with four wins from five matches.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2011: IRB Junior World Championship – Pool C: Ireland U-20s 26 South Africa U-20s 42, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso