Scotland recovered from an opening defeat to New Zealand with their first ever win over Ireland in this tournament. With Italy to come on Thursday the young Scots have a chance to do what the under 20s have only managed once in 9 previous attempts – win 2 matches in the pool stages.
Scotland have met the Italians 13 times in the last decade in tournament play and emerged victorious on 10 occasions, including all 3 previous encounters in the World Rugby u20 Championships. This is a must win for the dark blues but the Azzuri were able to rest more of their first choice players during their second pool match against New Zealand. Like their senior counterparts wins over Italy never come easy and Thursday’s match is likely to be yet another dog fight…
Final round fixtures – Thursday 8th June
10.00 am (1.00 pm local time)
Scotland v Italy (Pool B) – AIA Arena, Kutaisi
Wales v Samoa (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
New Zealand v Italy (Pool B) – AIA Arena, Kutaisi
South Africa v Argentina (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
France v Georgia (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
England v Australia (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
As things stand after round two the overall table (from which qualification for the playoffs will be determined) looks like this:
Based on hoped for / projected wins for Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, France and England the final overall standings would look something like this:
From a Scotland point of view that would mean a matchup against Argentina, with Australia and Wales on the other side of the 5th place playoffs:
New Zealand v France
England v South Africa
For rankings 5-8
Australia v Wales
Scotland v Argentina
For rankings 9-12
Italy v Georgia
Ireland v Samoa
A fifth final in ten tournaments between New Zealand and England looks a distinct possibility at this stage. There’s still an awful lot of rugby to be played though and the attritional nature of the championship may have a part to play – who can manage injuries and fatigue the best?
Permutations for Scotland
Avoiding the bottom tier:
It’s mathematically possible that Scotland could make it into the middle tier while still losing to Italy – but it’s unlikely. If the Scots lose without a bonus point they would need Ireland to lose to New Zealand and (more improbably) Samoa to beat Wales with no try bonus point. A losing bonus point for Scotland would still require an All Blacks win accompanied by either a Samoan victory or a Welsh success with no BP.
The middle tier:
A win against Italy will guarantee Scotland make it into the playoffs for 5th place for the third consecutive tournament – having not managed that feat a single time between 2008 and 2014.
Outside chance of the semi-finals:
Here’s where it gets complicated. To really make history and join the top tier for the first time ever Scotland will need a bonus point win against Italy and:
- Pool A:
England to beat Australia (with the Ozzies failing to get a bonus point)
- Pool C:
Georgia to beat France; or
France to beat Georgia – no try BP and by 20 less points than Scotland beat Italy; or
Argentina to beat South Africa – no try BP and by 29 less points than Scotland beat Italy; or
A draw in either of the France v Georgia or South Africa v Argentina matches.