Saturday 16 December 2017

Ruddock's young guns on revenge mission

U-20 WORLD CUP 5th place PLAY-OFF

IF ever an Irish team had a score to settle with the 'old enemy' England, it's Mike Ruddock's U-20s.

They have been a thorn in Ireland's side for the entire season, beating them in a Six Nations Grand Slam decider in March -- and then rubbing salt in the wound by coming from behind to beat Ruddock's team in the pool stages of this competition (20-15).

To add insult to injury, England lost to South Africa and coughed up a bonus point just 12 minutes from time in the process.

That result denied Ruddock's men a guaranteed minimum fourth-place finish and a shot at the title outright.

A fifth-place finish is still on the cards, but that would require beating England tomorrow as well as the winners of France and Australia next Friday.

A defeat would also see them in action next Friday to decide seventh and eighth spot, in what has been a gruelling schedule for Ruddock's players.

Ireland managed an eighth place finish in this competition last year and if they can improve on that, then they can look back at a good tournament.

They are unlikely to rest on their laurels.

Ireland have already recorded the country's first win over South Africa at this level, while they also broke their duck when they recorded a maiden win on French soil at this grade in the Six Nations.

And with no shortage of motivation, they can get the better of England at the third time of asking.

Verdict: Ireland

IRELAND U-20 -- P Nelson; B Daly, S Olding, C Farrell, F Horan; JJ Hanrahan, K Marmion; D Merrey, N Scannell (capt) T Furlong; A O'Connor, T Beirne; I Henderson, J Conan, J Coghlan. Reps: J Rael, P Reilly, J Cawley, AN Other, A Conneely, L McGrath, J Carty, M Sherlock.

Ireland v England,

Live, Tomorrow, TG4, 4.0

Irish Independent

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