At 4:30am AEST tomorrow morning the Australian U20s will go head to head with tournament heavyweights South Africa to secure a place in the World Rugby U20s Championship semi-finals.
A win would put us at the top of Pool B and guarantee progression to the final round.
A loss on the other hand, will significantly lower our chances for a World Championship finals appearance, but won’t rule us out entirely. There are still a number of ways Australia can still make it through to the semi-finals if we fail to poach the Baby Boks.
As there are only three pools in the World Rugby U20s Championship, unlike regular knockout tournaments, the competition goes into playoffs with the top four fighting it out to be champions, 5-8 fight for rankings for next year’s tournament and positions 9-12 fight to avoid regulation to the World Trophy Tournament.
The top ranked team of each pool automatically locks in a place for the next round, however the last semi-final berth is decided by whichever team left has the highest amount of pool points.
Heading into the final round of Pool matches Australia has the best chance of all the second placed teams to go through to the semi-finals.
England, South Africa and New Zealand all have 10 points and are leading their respective pools.
Australia is the only other team on 10 points, but is sitting behind South Africa in Pool B due to points difference. France (9 points) and Ireland (8 points) are the only other teams that pose a threat to Australia’s semi-final chances. France will play England in Pool A with Ireland having the challenge of New Zealand in Pool B.
Here are the options:
-If Australia win, we are then placed at the top of our pool and qualify for the semi-finals.
-If Australia draws with South Africa, we would finish on 12 points and this would ensure progression if France and Ireland lose their respective matches.
-If Australia lose and gain two bonus points from finishing within seven and scoring four tries, then we need just need France and Ireland to lose their respective matches.
-If Australia lose and gain only one bonus point we need France to lose and not gain 2 bonus points, and Ireland to lose.
-If Australia lose and gain no bonus points, we then need New Zealand and England to heavily beat Ireland and France to ensure they don’t receive any losing bonus points.
A win is clearly the best option, giving Australia both a secured semi-finals birth and some much needed momentum heading into a tough semi-final clash.
To watch the match tune into FOX SPORTS 2 Channel 502 at 4:30am AEST on Thursday 11 June, or follow the match live on twitter through @Wallabies.