Ireland will face some familiar faces in their Pool C fixtures.
France have been announced as the host’s for next Summer’s World Rugby Under 20 Championship with fixtures to be played in Beziers, Perpignan and Narbonne across a total of five match days, May 30, June 3, June 7, June 12 and June 17.
Ireland have been drawn in Pool C with the host’s, South Africa and Georgia and with the Irish’s first game of the U 20 Six nations against the French, they will be hoping to get off to a good start against their pool C rivals only a few months out from the World Cup.
Last year, Ireland won their final two games at the Under 20 Championship in Georgia against Samoa (52-26) and the host’s Georgia (24-18) to secure a ninth place overall finish and a number of players from that side will be returning in 2018.
This is the third season running that an Irish Under 20 side will face Georgia in the pool stages of the competition, with wins in both 2016 and 2017 to look back on. However, in Noel McNamara’s first year as head coach, he will face France in the Pool stage for the first time since 2014, when they were defeated 19-13 in their opener.
The last time Ireland faced the South Africans was back in 2012 when Chris Farrell, Kieran Marmion, Niall Scannell, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan Tadhg Beirne and Luke McGrath – along with Munster’s JJ Hanrahan, the man-of-the-match for Mike Ruddock’s youngsters, all featured in an historic opening round 23-19 win over the host’s in Stellenbosch.
At the Under 20 World Championship, there are a total of three groups with four teams in each, with each group winner and the best runner up from the three going through to the semi-final’s. New Zealand came away from Georgia as Champions last year after a resounding 64-17 final win over the English.
South Africa finished third in last season’s tournament after defeating the French 37-15 in the third fourth place play off.
The pool matches next May and June will be played at Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan, Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers and Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié in Narbonne. The semi-final and final venues will be announced in due course.
2018 WORLD RUGBY UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP POOLS:
POOL A: New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Japan
POOL B: England, Scotland, Italy, Argentina
POOL C: South Africa, France, IRELAND, Georgia