herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Ruddock's warriors face tough repeat with English

COACH Mike Ruddock must be sick at the sameness of the challenge put before his players.

They follow the power of South Africa, England and Italy with another test of mettle against England in what amounts to a semi-final for the 5th-8th place finishes at the U20 World Cup.

Judging by the 'Baby Boks' irresistible surge against England on Tuesday, Ireland could very well end the competition as the only side to beat the home nation.

There has been collateral damage from the physical demands of playing three matches in eight days, soon to be four in 13. This is a gruelling schedule for a country with such a small playing pool.

The major benefit for Leinster Rugby will accrue down the road as six of the eight forwards that thwarted South Africa are straight out of the province.

The most significant performers have been tight-head Tadhg Furlong, lock Tadhg Beirne and back-rowers Jordan Coghlan, Jack Conan and Conor Gilsenan.

The winners of this one will take on either France or Australia for fifth place outright, the losers will enter into a match-up for a best placed seventh.

VERDICT: England

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