Cruel exit for Ireland
IRELAND 41 ITALY 12
IRELAND's U-20s were denied a semi-final spot in heartbreaking circumstances last night by South Africa, the team they beat in their opening match of the tournament.
Mike Ruddock's men did their part by scoring six tries against Italy in Pool B's afternoon kick-off, but they needed South Africa to beat England by more than seven points, without securing a bonus point of their own, to finish top.
It was going to plan until the 64th minute when Junior Springbok blindside Shaun Adendorff powered over for a fourth try for the hosts, who ran out 28-15 winners to top the pool and proceed to the last four, where they will face Argentina.
Ireland's dubious reward for finishing second is a rematch with England in Cape Town on Sunday as they play off for fifth place.
It will be their third meeting with the English this season, with the Grand Slam champions having won the previous two encounters.
France will play Australia in the other fifth-place play-off game.
Despite making nine changes to his team, Ruddock watched on as Peter Nelson, Chris Farrell and Aaron Conneely all crossed in the first eight minutes to give Irelandthe initiative.
The Italians rallied and hit back with two tries which made it 24-12 at the break, but Ireland stretched their legs after the break and ran in another three tries through Nelson, Chris Farrell and Aaron Conneely, for an easy win.
IRELAND -- M Sherlock; C Finn, P Nelson, C Farrell (C Marsh 61), S Coghlan Murray (S Olding 31); J Carty, L McGrath (K Marmion 69); D Merrey, J Rael, P Reilly (T Furlong h-t, J Cawley 59); A O'Connor, I Henderson (S Buckley 64); A Conneely, J Van der Flier (T Beirne 48), J Conan (capt, N Scannell 71).