IRELAND qualified for a 5th-8th place play-off tilt at England this Sunday on the back of a six-try 41-12 drubbing of Italy at the U20 World Cup in Cape Town yesterday.
South Africa hit England with four second-half tries to win Group Two and consign the 'auld enemies' to another contest. The victors will confront the winners of France against Australia for fifth place overall.
Ireland accelerated out to a 21-0 lead in the first six minutes, from tries by Ulster centres Peter Nelson and Chris Farrell and Connacht flanker Aaron Conneely.
However, they had to wait until the 50th for Munster hooker James Rael to guarantee the bonus-point fourth try. In between, they fell into the trap of thinking the job was done, conceding two sloppy tries to Italy half backs Edoardo Padovani and Guido Calabrese.
"Maybe a bit of complacency kicked in or we deviated from our game plan and the Italians are big strong lads and they ran at us hard," said Ireland number eight Jack Conan.
"We tried to force it and when that happened the momentum switched.
"We settled down got back to our game plan and finished the game out strongly."