Ireland secure spot in 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship with 39-33 win over Japan

Ireland U20 39-33 Japan U20, Beziers

Ireland managed to seal a place in the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 as they edged out Japan in the 11th place play-off in Beziers on Sunday.

This was also Ireland's only victory in the tournament while Japan are relegated to World Rugby U-20 Trophy for the second time in three seasons.

Scrum-half Jonny Stewart got Ireland off the block with a fifth minute try that was improved by fly-half Harry Byrne. The lead soon became 12-0 when Jack Dunne, Cormac Daly and Caelan Doris combined to send hooker Dan Sheelan over the line for their second try.

Trailing by 12 points, Japan finally managed to rally winger Halatoa Vailea crashed from close range in the 15th minute followed by a conversion from Yuto Mori. The scores were levelled by the start of the second quarter when prop Rento Tsukayama touched down in the 23rd minute.

Doris showed a lot of intent adding pressure on Japan defenders and eventually, he combined with James Hume that saw Peter Sylvester muscle over the line and Bryne kicked a conversion and a penalty on either side to take Ireland to 22-12 heading into the break.

Bryne made Japan pay for their errors as he kicked three successive penalties to take Ireland to 31-12 but back to back tries from Siosaia Fifita in the 55th and 59th minutes followed by a double conversion from Mori narrowed down the gap to just five points.

Bryne with his fifth penalty kick extended Ireland's lead to eight points but Japan had other plans as a second from Vailea and a conversion from Mori got the scoreline to 34-33 with eight minutes left in the game. As Japan failed to find the final push, Bryne and Sean O'Brien sent Tommy O'Brien over the line to complete 39-33 win.