Ireland U20: All you need to know about Australia U20 v Ireland U20

Published Categorised as 2018-19, Australia U20, International Rugby U20, Ireland U20, World Rugby U20 Championship Tagged , , , , , ,
Malone and Ulster's Stewart Moore was one of three debutants in Ireland's starting XV against perennial finalists England ©SPORTSFILE/Florencia Tan Jun

We have an indepth look at the two teams ahead of this afternoon’s 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship second round match. Kick off is at 10:30 in Arentinia, 14:30 in UK/IRE. 

The match should be streamed live here for those of us in the UK and will also be shown on EIR Sports. 

Why is this match important? 

Both teams won their opening match with a bonus point and both want to keep winning to ensure qualification for the Cup Semi Finals.

After the first round Pool B is as follows:

IRELAND U20111615
ENGLAND U2010(16)00
ITALY U2010(24)00

With only three Pools, there is a chance that both teams could qualify for the top four but,  at the moment it looks like the best placed runner will come from Pool C containing New Zealand and South Africa. 

After the first round, all the teams are ranked as follows: 

IRELAND U20111615
FRANCE U20111615
WALES U2011504
ARGENTINA U2010(5)11
ENGLAND U2010(16)00
FIJI U2010(16)00
SCOTLAND U2010(24)00
ITALY U2010(24)00
GEORGIA U2010(32)00

This match is also uniquely important as it brings together the current U20 Oceania Champions and the Six Nations Champions and the result of this game will allow a lot of the teams to re-calibrate their chances in this competition. 

Australia won the Oceania competition after beating Japan (62 – 14), Fiji (16 – 0) and New Zealand (24 – 0). Ireland completed the Six Nations Grand Slam with wins over France, England, Wales, Scotland and Italy. 

What happened last time they met?

The teams have only met twice in this competition and both times were in 2013, the only time they were in the same pool.

Ireland won the Pool match 19 – 15. However, both teams lost to New Zealand in the pool stages and both went through to the 5th place play offs.

They lost their first knock out games, Australia to Argentina and Ireland to France, and Australia went on to win their 7th place play off 28 – 17. 

Will that match have any effect on this one? 

Of course not, a year is a long time at this level and their last meeting was six years ago. As a matter of interest, their last meetings featured, then Ulster players, Conor Joyce, Chris Farrell and Rory Scholes. David Shanahan was also in the squad though he was with Leinster at the time.

The teams for this meeting are as follows (current Ulster players in bold).

Isaac Lucas
15Rob Russell
(Dublin University)
Triston Reilly
14Angus Kernohan
Semisi Tupou
13Liam Turner
(Dublin University)
Noah Lolesio
12Stewart Moore
Mark Nawaqanitawase (Eastwood)11Jonathan Wren
(Cork Constitution)
Will Harrison
10Jake Flannery
(Cork Constitution)
Michael McDonald
9Craig Casey
Angus Bell
(Sydney University)
1Josh Wycherley
(Young Munster)
Lachlan Lonergan
2Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians)
Josh Nasser
(University of Queensland)
3Thomas Clarkson
(Dublin University)
Michael Wood
4Charlie Ryan (Capt.)
Trevor Hosea
(Melbourne Harlequins)
5Ryan Baird
(Trinity College)
Harry Wilson
6David McCann
Fraser McReight (C) (Brothers)7Ronan Watters
(St Mary’s College)
Will Harris
(Eastern Suburbs)
8John Hodnett
Joseph Cotton
16John McKee
(Old Belvedere)
Bo Abra
(Eastern Suburbs)
17Michael Milne
Darcy Breen
(Sydney University)
18Charlie Ward
Rhys Van Nek19Declan Adamson
Esei Haangana
20Niall Murray
Nick Frost
Carlo Tizzano
(Western Force)
22Ciaran Booth
(Sale Sharks)
Patrick Tafa (Norths)23Thomas Ahern
Henry Robertson
(Sydney University)
24Colm Reilly
Ben Donaldson
25Ben Healy
Kye Oates
(University of Queensland)
26Cormac Foley
(St Mary’s College)
Joey Walton
Sione Tui

Since 2013 Australia have finished in either 5th or 6th place in the Championships. Ireland have had more disordered campaigns, finishing as high as 2nd in 2016 and as low as 11th in 2018.

What are the Irish Players Stats?

The updated stats for the Irish players at this level are shown below. In the case of Angus Kernohan, Dylan Tierney-Martin and Charlie Ryan the stats include U20 Six Nations and Championship stats from 2018. 

15Rob RussellDublin UniversityLeinster56500
14Angus KernohanQueen’s UniversityUlster950200
13Liam TurnerDublin UniversityLeinster648000
12Stewart MooreMaloneUlster14915
11Jonathan WrenCork ConstitutionMunster6480210
10Jake FlanneryShannonMunster6457111
9Craig CaseyShannonMunster4296210
1Josh WycherleyYoung MunsterMunster6398210
2Dylan Tierney-MartinCorinthiansConnacht7416525
3Tom ClarksonDublin UniversityLeinster646715
4Charlie RyanUCDLeinster1157100
5Ryan BairdDublin UniversityLeinster313200
6David McCannBanbridgeUlster4100210
7Ronan WattersSt Mary’s CollegeLeinster26400
8John HodnettUCDMunster6470210
16John McKeeOld BelvedereLeinster45500
17Michael MilneUCDLeinster43900
18Charlie WardClontarfLeinster1200
19Declan AdamsonClontarfLeinster1700
20Niall MurrayBuccaneersConnacht633200
22Ciaran BoothSale SharksIQ Rugby1700
23Thomas Ahern*ShannonMunster0000
24Colm ReillyBuccaneersConnacht23015
25Ben HealyGarryowenMunster4181135
26Cormac FoleySt Mary’s CollegeLeinster515415
*Uncapped at this level

Where are the key areas?

This one is going to be all about defense. Ireland scored 6 tries against England and Australia banged in 5 tries against Italy. 

The bulk of Ireland’s efforts were from close in with the ball not going past the half backs that often in attack. Australia were slightly more expensive, but, the bulk of their tries also came from the forwards.

However, I think it would be fair to say, Australia are more influenced by the basketball style of play of Super Rugby and Ireland are more inclined to keep it tight though, pleasingly, both teams can switch styles fairly seamlessly and both have few weaknesses. 

Australia niled New Zealand U20 in their Oceania meeting in May and Ireland have turned over the heavyweight English side twice this season so they are both good sides at the top of their games.

The key area in this one will be in their heads. 

Who is going to win?

This has the potential to be the game of the tournament and whoever wins this one will be favourites to go on and win the tournament. (For a couple of days anyway – things can change dramatically over a short period of time in this competition.)

However, Ireland have had the opportunity to slug out the wins more often against strong teams like England and France and I feel this experience gives them a slight advantage at this stage of the tournament. 

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