Argentina, South Africa and France have joined Australia in the semi-finals of the World Rugby U20 Championship after a day of thrilling action.
With nothing less than victory needed to keep them in the title hunt, hosts Los Pumitas ran in five tries to beat defending champions France 47-26 in Rosario, securing the top spot in Pool A and a place in the semi-finals.
Argentina will now face Australia in Monday’s first semi-final, it is the third time Argentina have reached an U20 Championship semi-final and their first since 2016. Australia, who had already booked their spot with a win over Ireland last Saturday, went down to England in today’s final round of pool play. England, finalists for the last six years, scored eight tries in the 56-33 victory in Santa Fe but only finished third in Pool B.
South Africa were the other pool winners after beating traditional rivals New Zealand 25-17 in the Pool C decider in Rosario. The victory ensured the Junior Springboks go into the semi-finals as the top seeds, where they will face defending champions France, who finished second in Pool A on 11 competition points, enough to see them through to the semi-finals as the fourth qualifier. Meanwhile, defeat to South Africa means six-time U20 Championship winners New Zealand miss out on the semi-finals for only the second time in the tournament’s 12-year history.
The third matchday, which doubled as Keep Rugby Clean Day with players, coaches and tournament staff wearing t-shirts in support of World Rugby’s anti-doping education programme, also saw wins for Georgia, Ireland and Wales. Georgia edged Scotland 17-12 in the lowest scoring affair of the day, while Wales overcame Fiji 44-28 and Ireland beat Italy 38-14.
The U20 Championship semi-finals will take place on Monday, June 17 in Rosario, where the threat of relegation to the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2020 will loom over Georgia, Scotland, Italy and Fiji, who will contest the positions from ninth to 12th. Scotland will face Italy in the opening match at Old Resians, before Georgia tackle Fiji in the second match. The day’s final match at Old Resians will see Ireland take on three-time champions England in one of the fifth place semi-finals.
New Zealand will open proceedings at the Racecourse Stadium where they face Wales in the other fifth place semi-final at 10:30 local time (GMT-3). Attention then turns to the four teams still in contention to lift the distinctive trophy on 22 June, with Argentina tackling Australia at 13:00 before South Africa meet France at 15:30.
Day Three fixtures
9th place semi-finals
Scotland v Italy
Georgia v Fiji
5th place semi-finals
New Zealand v Wales
Ireland v England
Argentina v Australia
South Africa v France