Friday 24 November 2017

Ruddock plots revenge over Baby Boks

RUGBY

John Fallon

IRELAND go into tonight's U-20 Junior World Championship clash against South Africa determined to avenge last week's 42-26 defeat by the Baby Boks in the pool stages -- and claim the scalp of a top Southern Hemisphere team for the first time.

South Africa's attitude could be a telling factor following their bitterly disappointing 26-20 loss to England, which saw them miss out on the semi-finals for the first time since the competition started in 2008.

Mike Ruddock has made just one change to his Ireland team, with the versatile David Doyle coming in to the back-row in place of Dominic Gallagher.

"I think we acquitted ourselves very well against them in the last match and we certainly didn't look inferior to them in a lot of ways," he said.

"We gave them a 13-point head-start through a couple of basic errors and then let them off the hook after putting ourselves in a winning position with a few minutes to go.

"It shows, on our day, that we can give anyone a game and that we have definitely improved. I thought our defence in particular improved against a very tough, industrious Scotland team who just wouldn't give up."

Ruddock, who is targeting a record-high fifth-place finish, said that Ireland had identified a few mistakes which they hoped to rectify this time round.

"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," added Ruddock.

Meanwhile, the International Rugby Board yesterday responded to Ireland's plan to withdraw from the tournament from next year by pointing out that it was the various unions who had asked for the competition to be created following "a thorough review" of the old IRB U-19 and U-21 World Championships.

A spokesperson also insisted that no country had yet pulled out of the championship, but that a restructuring two years ago led to the creation of a secondary tournament, the Junior World Rugby Trophy, with promotion and relegation, in operation.

Ireland (v South Africa) -- T O'Halloran (Galwegians); A Conway (Blackrock), B Macken (Blackrock), L Marshall (Ballymena), A Boyle (UCD); P Jackson (Dungannon), K Marmion (University of Wales Institute Cardiff); J Tracy (UCD), N Annett (Belfast Harlequins), T Furlong (Clontarf); M Kearney (Clontarf), I Henderson (Queens University); E McKeon (Galwegians), D Doyle (UCD), J Murphy (Lansdowne). Replacements: F Bealham (Belfast Harlequins), C Gilroy (Dungannon), D Qualter (Buccaneers), S Buckley (Garryowen), P Du Toit (UCD), J McKinney (Queens University), A Kelly (UCD).

Irish Independent

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