England, South Africa, France, Ireland progress to semi-final of World Rugby U20 Championship

The semi-finals will be played on 9th and 10th July
The semi-finals will be played on 9th and 10th July
©Steve Haag

Defending champions France will go into the semi-finals as the top seeded team as they finished the group stage with a perfect run with a 43-19 victory over Wales in the final round in Cape Town.

France complete perfect run

Nicolas Depoortere scored a double while Clément Mondinant, Léo Carbonneau, Lino Julien and Mael Moustin went over for France as they registered their third win in as many games while Seb Driscoll, Tom Florence and Harri Houston went over for Wales. The 43-19 victory ensured France sailed through to the next round with ease.

Ireland finish at top of Pool B

Ireland dominated Fiji with a 47-27 victory as they secured a top spot in Pool B. Ireland had the bonus point in the bag just after the half-hour mark thanks to a brace from number eight Brian Gleeson and other close-range scores from fellow members of the pack, Danny Sheahan and George Hadden.

Moses McGoon, Isaiah Ravula, Moti Murray, Pateresio Finau and Frank Ralogaivau scored tries for Fiji but it did not prove enough as they finished last in the group.

Australia level with England after fightback

Australia denied England the bonus-point victory they needed to finish top of Pool B but their own second-half fightback in a ferocious contest at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town was not quite enough to take the 2019 runners-up through to the semi-finals.

England still sneaked into the top four due to point difference. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips powered over for their third try two minutes from time. But fly-half Jack Bowen was unable to add the conversion and further attacks from the Junior Wallabies in the final minute went unrewarded. Australia were ahead again at half-time after Bowen kicked a penalty to the corner and hooker Max Craig was driven over with Bowen’s conversion curling in on the breeze.

When Jibulu scored, following excellent work by Mastercard Player of the Match Chandler Cunningham-Smith, it appeared a matter of when, not if, the fourth try would follow. But England lost Cunnigham-Smith to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle and a penalty from Slevin proved to be their only further score, leaving them to wait to see if the draw was enough to keep their title hopes alive as the best runner-up across the three pools.

South Africa edge out Argentina to make it to semi-finals

Both teams needed to win, Argentina with a bonus point, to leapfrog Georgia at the top of Pool C and book the last remaining place in the semi-finals. South Africa showed great character to come from behind to seal a 24-16 victory. Valentino Dicapua scored three penalties to kick-start before Renzo Zanella dived over to give them a 16-7 lead.

A penalty goal from Jean Smith helped the Boks reduce the deficit before Corne Beets touched down twice to complete a victory.