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Can Ireland still make the semis of the U20 World Rugby Championship?

Ireland go into the final round of the pool stages in the U20 World Championship knowing that the...

Ireland go into the final round of the pool stages in the U20 World Championship knowing that their hopes of reaching the semi-finals are exceedingly slim.

However, if results go Ireland's way, we'll find ourselves in what would be only our third appearance in the semi-finals of the U20's showpiece tournament.

We’ll fill you in on exactly what needs to happen to keep Ireland’s World Championship dreams alive.

One-sided win needed between the All Blacks and Springboks

New Zealand and South Africa face off tomorrow at 7.30pm Irish time, in what will likely be the game of the round. In last year’s tournament, the sides played in the bronze final where the Junior Boks prevailed by 40 points to 30.

A similar result could see Ireland through to the last four. Both sides are currently on ten points, so a losing bonus point or a try bonus point for the losing side would see Ireland compete in the 5th-8th place playoffs. A draw would also mean disappointment for the boy’s in green.

Both sides have been in impressive form so far, racking up big wins over pool rivals Scotland and Georgia. The game looks too close to call but Irish punters will be hoping for a big win one way or the other.

Ireland dejected after the loss against Australia

Hope the French continue their fine form

France, the current World Champions, have picked up where they left off with big wins over Fiji and Wales. Up next is Argentina, currently on six points, who could eliminate Ireland with a bonus point win over the French.

Results should go our way here, with France strong favourites against the host nation. Argentina suffered a five-point loss in the first round against Wales while France had 19 points to spare over the Welsh.

Hopefully this French side can prove more consistent than their senior counterparts and get their third win on the trot. While Argentina haven’t set the world alight with their performances so far, Irish fans will be hoping that home crowd support doesn’t spur them on to a big upset.

Tries, tries and more tries

If the two games mentioned above do go our way, a big win is still necessary over Italy. A bonus point win over the Azzuri is needed, but for Ireland to truly have a chance we’re going to need to run in more than four tries.

South Africa currently have a points difference of +52, while New Zealand are on +51. Ireland meanwhile, currently have a points difference of -12. So if South Africa win by eight points, the bare minimum needed to deny the All Blacks a losing bonus point, Ireland will need to win by 56.

Considering England only managed a one-point win over Italy, it’s a big ask. Ireland beat Italy 34-14 in the Six Nations earlier this year, so unless there’s a big margin in the New Zealand South Africa match, there’ll have to be a big improvement.

Ireland take on Italy in Santa Fe at 2.30pm Irish time but will likely have to wait until about 9.30pm to know their fate. A win over Italy will at least guarantee a place in 5th-8th place playoffs, which is a major improvement over last year’s 11th place finish.

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All Blacks Ireland Italy New Zealand Rugby Springboks U20 Wallabies World Championship