Sport U20 World Championship

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Ireland confirm place in next summer's U20 world championship after seeing off Japan in relegation playoff

Ireland 39 Japan 33

17 June 2018; Harry Byrne of Ireland in action against Ryuga Hashimoto of Japan during the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018 11th Place Play-Off match between Ireland and Japan at Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers, France. Photo by Alexandre Dimou/World Rugby via Sportsfile
17 June 2018; Harry Byrne of Ireland in action against Ryuga Hashimoto of Japan during the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018 11th Place Play-Off match between Ireland and Japan at Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers, France. Photo by Alexandre Dimou/World Rugby via Sportsfile

Ireland held out to survive relegation from the U20 World Championship after a thrilling nine-try encounter with Japan.

Noel McNamara's side withstood a late rally from the Japanese to finish a tough campaign with a 39-33 win, preserving their place in next year's tournament as a result.

Japan outscored Ireland by five tries to four but crucially, out-half Harry Byrne added five penalties which proved decisive on the scoreboard.

Ireland struck through scrum-half Jonny Stewart, hooker Dan Sheehan, centre Peter Sylvester and wing Tommy O'Brien, with Byrne adding three conversions.

O'Brien's late score was particularly timely, after Japan had reduced the deficit to a single point following a try from Halatoa Vailea.

However, Ireland held on, which means that next year's crop will compete in next summer's world championship.

Independent.ie's World Rugby U-20s Championship coverage is in association with PwC

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