The ongoing World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 is being hosted by Argentina. The tournament brings top rugby talent from different countries together. The competition kicked off on June 4 and it will sail through to June 22. Argentina, Australia, Wales, England, Scotland and South Africa are among the twelve countries who will square it off in the tournament.
The Under-20 Championship will be interesting to watch since all the teams will be looking forward to lifting the 2019 trophy. We take a closer look at some of the teams participating to determine their chances of emerging winners.
England’s journey towards the tournament
England U20 team lost to Ireland in their opening match of the competition but have gotten back to their winning ways after defeating Italy 24-23 in their second game in the Rugby World Cup. Steve Bates’ side led with one-point ahead of Italy through Northampton’s Alex Coles.
England will play with Australia, who are already leading with 10 points ahead of England. Steve Bates’ side are number three with four points in Group B.
England Under-20 squad have reached the finals five times and won three times in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship, England beat Ireland 45-21 and lifted the trophy at Aj Bell Stadium.
Australia set to reach the final
The Junior Wallabies started the tournament on a high note by recording great victories in their first two opening matches. Australia crushed Ireland 45-17 and Italy 36-12 having two straight wins and topping Pool B. The Junior Wallabies have already booked a spot in the final four slot.
Ireland were a 14-man squad when they were crushed by Australia, but they tried to improve in the second half. Despite being one man down, the Junior Wallabies hit back and capitalized on that to emerge victorious. Ireland had a stunning performance in their opening fixture against England as they beat the tournament’s favorites 42-26.
Australia’s coach Jason Gilmore said his side wants to maintain a winning formula as they head into the quarterfinals. Gilmore will not make any changes to his squad prior to face off with England.
The hosts’ first fixture started with a loss to Wales 25-30. During the first half, Wales were on the lead by 11-10 by courtesy of Harri Morgan and double penalties from Cai Evans. Argentina defeated Wales 39-15 in 2018 U-20 Championship playoffs in France.
Argentina improved in their attacks and beat Fiji 41-14 to record their first win in Pool A. Fiji sits on the bottom of the pool while Argentina are number two.
The hosts’ captain Juan Pablo Castro was impressed by the win. Argentina needs to work hard prior to their meeting with 2018 champions France in their next match.
Will it be Argentina or Australia?
According to their recent performance, Argentina and Australia are the favorite teams to reach the final. Australia tops Pool B with 11 points and Argentina leads in pool A with 11 points as well.
The Junior Wallabies had a stunning performance in the Oceania Rugby U20 Championship. They defeated Japan 64-14 in their first game to set the pace for the other fixtures. In 2018 World U20 Championship, the Junior Wallabies finished fifth in the playoffs after beating Italy.
Argentina defeated Wales 39-15 in 2018 U20 Championship and recorded a fifth-place finish in the playoffs. The Junior Wallabies have recorded the highest victories in the history of rugby. However, both teams stand close to each other in the ranking and will do whatever it takes to win the tournament.
Jose Pellicena’s side will make use of their home advantage to have an edge against their opponents and lift the trophy. The World Rugby U20 Championship could bring a number of surprises this time around. However, regardless of what happens the best team will carry the day.
Photo by Hamish McConnochie via wikimedia