Sport Rugby

Saturday 20 July 2019

Irish face Baby Boks test

Ireland U20's head coach Noel McNamara Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland U20's head coach Noel McNamara Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

John Fallon

The margins in the World Rugby under 20 Championship are particularly tight, three pools of four teams leave little margin for error and Ireland will today hope to get back on track when they take on South Africa in their second game.

They came out the wrong side of a 26-24 scoreline against hosts France on Wednesday night and need to beat the Baby Boks today to stay in contention.

Coach Noel McNamara knows that a win today will have them right back in contention, while a loss will leave them battling it out for one of the lower positions in the concluding week.

But he is under no illusion about the difficulty of the task facing them against South Africa, who came from behind to oust Georgia 33-27 in a bruising encounter in Perpignan on Wednesday night.

"South Africa are strong," said McNamara. "They had a very comprehensive tour of the northern hemisphere. They played England, they played Wales, they played Scotland and won all three games. They are going to be very strong."

McNamara has made five changes to the side, two of them enforced through injury, with Cormac Daly coming in to the second row for Matthew Dalton.

Winger Dan Hurley, injured in the opening half, and prop James French, who twisted a knee in the warm-up on Wednesday night, have gone home.

They have been replaced by Sligo and Connacht prop Jakub Wojtkowicz and Peter Sullivan of Lansdowne, who has recovered from injury.

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