The result means Ireland have made their second ever World Final at this age grade, following in the footsteps of the 2016 team.
Munster’s Ruadhan Quinn and Brian Gleeson were joined by replacements Evan O’Connell and Danny Sheahan, as the quartet helped the Ireland U20 side defeat host nation South Africa in the semi-final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The result means Ireland have made their second ever World Final at this age grade, following in the footsteps of the 2016 team, and Richie Murphy’s troops will be hoping to go all the way when they face France this Friday.
A physical battle meant the game was scoreless coming up to half time, but James Nicholson would get his first try of the day, as the Leinster man went over on the cusp of the break, before fly-half Sam Prendergast converted to give his country a 7-0 lead.
In the opening five minutes of the second half, Springbok Jean Smith missed two penalties, although it wouldn’t be long until Imad Khan bundled over, and Smith fixed up his accuracy to nail the conversion and bring the scores level.
However, Murphy was about to see his team’s attacking play go up a level, and in the following fifteen minutes, Gleeson and Nicholson went over for two more Irish tries, both of which Prendergast converted, to give Ireland a commanding 21-7 lead.
Replacement Sam Berman also got in on the act, as the Leinster man touched down with 66 minutes on the clock, and Prendergast once again converted, on a day when his kicking was flawless. With eight minutes to go, the fly-half kicked a penalty, to bring about a 31-7 lead.
The South Africans would make one last push, as Coetzee le Roux managed a try for his side, however it was a mere consolation with just four minutes left to run on the clock, and Smith missed the conversion, to bring an end to a disappointing day for the Springboks.
As the final whistle sounded in Cape Town, Ireland had secured a 31-12 win over the host nation, and a spot in next Friday’s World Final. Coach Murphy will be delighted with the hunger and desire his players showed, as they fought to an impressive victory.