We have an indepth look at the two teams ahead of this afternoon’s 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship 7th Place Final match. Kick off is at 13:00 in Argentina, 17:00 in UK/IRE.
The match should be streamed live for those of us in the UK and will also be shown on EIR Sports.
Why is this match important?
Both the teams are playing for pride, plus the final rankings will determine their pool draw for next season. The main driver in this game will be that both teams will feel they have underperformed in this tournament.
New Zealand, who have won this tournament six times, have never finished lower than 5th.
Ireland, who won the Grand Slam in the 2019 Six Nations, will be disappointed to now be finishing behind European rivals France, Wales and England.
It’s a tournament that tests squad depth and squad management to the fullest and neither side will be happy with how they have managed this competition.
What happened last time they met.
The teams have met twice in this tournament in recent years.
Ireland won their Pool game 33 – 24 in 2016 in their memorable run to the final of that championship, held in Manchester. That match featured three Ulster players, Adam McBurney, Jacob Stockdale and Johnny McPhillips.
However, they were turned over something shocking the following year in Georgia with New Zealand winning that pool game 69 – 3, on their way to winning the championship. It was particularly disappointing as TeamFRU were sharing our hotel with the New Zealand captain’s parents! The match also featured three Ulster players, Jack Regan, Jonny Stewart and Marcus Rea.
Will that match have any effect on this one.
While there are no players in either squad involved in their previous meeting it’s still might have some effect. It was quite a beating and there are still members of the management team involved in the Ireland set up.
Ireland’s 2016 win is the only time they have beaten New Zealand in seven meetings at this level. Their 69 – 3 defeat in 2017 is Ireland’s biggest ever loss against any team.
It may be difficult for Ireland to park that history for this game. However, it does give the Irish side a chance to add to their records this season, a win against New Zealand would sit nicely alongside their Grand Slam.
The two squads for this afternoon’s game, according to their released team sheets, are as follows.
|IRELAND U20||NEW ZEALAND U20|
|1 Josh Wycherley Young Munster||1 Oliver Norris Waikato|
|2 Dylan Tierney-Martin Corinthians||2 Shilo Klein Canterbury|
|3 Thomas Clarkson Dublin University||3 Fletcher Newell Canterbury|
|4 Charlie Ryan (Capt.) UCD||4 Cullen Grace Canterbury|
|5 Thomas Ahern Shannon||5 Tupou Va’ai Taranaki|
|6 Ryan Baird Trinity College||6 Kaylum Boshier (Capt.) Taranaki|
|7 Ronan Watters St Mary’s College||7 Jeriah Mua Bay of Plenty|
|8 Brian Deeny Clontarf||8 Simon Parker Waikato|
|9 Craig Casey Shannon||9 Taufa Funaki Auckland|
|10 Jake Flannery Cork Constitution||10 Rivez Reihana Auckland|
|11 Rob Russell Dublin University||11 Leicester Fainga’anuku Tasman|
|12 Cormac Foley St Mary’s College||12 Quinn Tupaea Waikato|
|13 Liam Turner Dublin University||13 Billy Proctor Wellington|
|14 Angus Kernohan QUB||14 Etene Nanai-Seturo Counties Manukau|
|15 Max O’Reilly Dublin University||15 Cole Forbes Bay of Plenty|
|16 Declan Adamson Clontarf|
|17 Michael Milne UCD||17 Rob Cobb Auckland|
|18 Charlie Ward Clontarf||18 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa Wellington|
|19 John McKee Old Belvedere||19 Tamaiti Williams Canterbury|
|20 Niall Murray Connacht||20 Taine Plumtree Wellington|
|21 Luke Clohessy Shannon|
|22 Azur Allison Ballymena||22 James Thompson Waikato|
|23 Kohan Herbert Bay of Plenty|
|24 Colm Reilly Buccaneers||24 Leroy Carter Bay of Plenty|
|25 Ben Healy Garryowen||25 Fergus Burke Canterbury|
|26 Jonathan Wren Cork Constitution||26 Dallas Mcleod Canterbury|
|27 David Ryan UCD||27 Chay Fihaki Canterbury|
|28 Aaron O’Sullivan UCD|
Irish player stats
The stats for the Irish Players in this competition to date are shown below.
|15||Max O’Reilly||Dublin University||Leinster||1||4||0||0|
|14||Angus Kernohan||Queen’s University||Ulster||4||231||0||0|
|13||Liam Turner||Dublin University||Leinster||4||320||0||0|
|12||Cormac Foley||St Mary’s College||Leinster||2||92||1||5|
|11||Rob Russell||Dublin University||Leinster||2||136||1||5|
|1||Josh Wycherley||Young Munster||Munster||4||207||0||0|
|3||Tom Clarkson||Dublin University||Leinster||4||234||0||0|
|6||Ryan Baird||Dublin University||Leinster||4||254||1||5|
|7||Ronan Watters||St Mary’s College||Leinster||3||153||0||0|
|19||John McKee||Old Belvedere||Leinster||2||71||0||0|
|26||Jonathan Wren||Cork Constitution||Munster||4||272||1||5|
What are the key areas?
At this stage of the competition it is fitness that will be key.
Looking at their last couple of outings the teams appear to be fairly evenly matched and both have lost players to injuries as is the norm for this competition.
Ireland’s infusion of fresh blood in the form of Brian Deeny at 8 and Max O’Reilly at 15 may help and certainly Deeny’s inclusion in the back row, at the expense of Ballymena’s Azur Allison may be the key with Allison having the ability to build on a big 60 minute performance from Deeny.
Who is going to win?
It is one of those games that could easily go either way, both in terms of who actually wins and by what margin.
Both teams have suffered from injuries throughout the competition as is expected from this attritional tournament. However, New Zealand tend to be focusing more on their execution and I get the feeling from Ireland that they tend to be focusing on their injuries, but maybe that’s just because I read more about Ireland.
Having said that, I still think that Ireland have a slight edge and it may all come down to the boots of Ireland’s Jake Flannery and Ben Healy (should he come on) who have the best kicking records in the competition.