France and Ireland Set Up U20 Championship Title Decider
Defending champions France will meet 2016 runners-up Ireland in the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023 final at Athlone Stadium after coming out on top of two entertaining semi-finals in Cape Town on Sunday.
U20 Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland were first to book their place in a second title decider after a 31-12 defeat of hosts South Africa, before France recovered from an early 17-0 deficit to eventually pull clear of three-time winners England in the second half to triumph 52-31 in a high-intensity encounter.
It was the highest-scoring semi-final in U20 Championship history, the 83 points easily beating the 65 scored in France’s loss to New Zealand in 2017.
The ninth-place semi-finals had earlier got play underway on day four with Fiji claiming their first victory of the tournament, 41-26 against Italy at Paarl Gymnasium.
The win ensures that Fiji will be playing in the U20 Championship next year, but Italy now face another relegation battle on the final day to avoid relegation to the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2024.
Italy will face Japan on Friday, who lost 45-20 to Argentina in Paarl in the 400th match in U20 Championship history. Los Pumitas are also assured of their place in the 2024 edition and will now play Fiji for ninth place.
Wales earned a hard-fought 40-21 victory against Georgia in the final match in Paarl. Mark Jones’ side will now face Australia for fifth place after the Junior Wallabies came out on top of an entertaining fifth-place semi-final battle with six-time champions New Zealand 44-35.
The 11th place play-off will kick-off the final day of play at 12:00 local time (GMT+2) on Friday at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, which will also host the ninth place play-off between Fiji and Argentina at 14:30 as well as the seventh place decider between New Zealand and Georgia at 17:00.
Wales and Australia’s battle for fifth place gets play underway at Athlone Stadium at 14:00 on Friday, followed by the third place play-off between South Africa and England at 16:30 with the final between Ireland and France bringing down the curtain on the tournament at 19:00.
Source: World Rugby