Semifinalists confirmed at World Rugby Under 20 Championships

World Rugby U20 Championship 2023  Pool C South Africa v Argentina

France's reward is a semifinal against England, who edged New Zealand on points difference to claim the best runner-up position after both finished on 10 competition points.

That would have come as a relief to England after they let slip a lead against Australia to draw for the second time in the 2023 Championship, the 22-22 stalemate coming after a 34-34 draw with Ireland on the opening day. New Zealand ran out 62-19 winners over Japan, but it wasn't enough to overhaul England's +66 points difference.

Ireland finished top of Pool B after overcoming Fiji 47-27 at Danie Craven Stadium on an emotional day which saw a moment of silence observed before every match following the tragic death of Munster elite performance officer and former Scotland international Greig Oliver, the father of current Ireland U20 Jack Oliver, while he was in South Africa.

Ireland's squad had also been rocked by the death of 18-year-olds Andrew O'Donnell and Max Wall, who were known to many of the players, on the Greek island of Ios over the weekend.

They will play Pool C winners South Africa in the first semifinal on Sunday after the Junior Springboks denied Georgia a first-ever U20 Championship semi-final with a comeback 24-16 victory against Argentina in the final match of the day.   

Earlier, Georgia had got the final day of pool matches underway against Italy at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch with all players grateful to see a bright blue sky overhead after pouring rain for much of day two last Thursday.

The Junior Lelos left it until the dying minutes to claim the bonus point try in the 30-17 victory that assured them of a top-two finish in Pool C and their best ever finish in U20 Championship history, having never finished higher than ninth previously.

They then faced a nervous wait for the final match of the day, which Argentina led from the fourth minute at Athlone Sports Stadium until Mastercard Player of the Match Cornè Beets' two-try salvo in the closing stages denied Georgia an historic place in the semi-finals on the head-to-head rule.


The Italy v Fiji ninth place semi-final will get play underway on Sunday at 11:00 local time (GMT+2) at Paarl Gymnasium, followed by Argentina against Japan at 13:30 and the fifth place semi-final between Georgia and Wales at 16:00. 

The other fifth place semifinal between New Zealand and Australia kicks off proceedings at 14:00 (12am NZT Monday 10 July) at Athlone Sports Stadium in Cape Town before the semifinals take centre stage with Ireland versus hosts South Africa at 16:30 followed by defending champions France against England at 19:00.


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