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Azur Allison flying flag for Ulster in final game of World Under 20 Championships

 

Azur Allison
Azur Allison
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Back-rower Azur Allison is the last Ulsterman standing in the starting line-up as Ireland Under-20s take on England in the World Championships tonight (7.30pm kick-off).

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Stewart Moore and Iwan Hughes had already headed for home before the pool stages concluded with last Wednesday's win over Italy and have since been joined by David McCann.

Bruised and battered, that trio are just a small handful of the players Ireland have had ruled out through injury during or prior to the tournament.

With Allison starting at No.8 in Rosario, there is also Ulster representation on the bench with Angus Kernohan among the replacements as he nears the end of his second and final season at this level.

Their victory over the Azzurri saw Noel McNamara's side finish the pool on 10 points but still only in the fifth-place bracket where they face a rematch with a side they have beaten twice this season, including once to kick off this Championship.

"It's been a pretty gruelling three games," said McNamara. "Huge physical tests, all three of them, that have brought different challenges at different times. Really it is about resting and recovering and the renewal of energy for the challenge ahead.

"In terms of our next opponents, we're pretty knowledgeable about England, particularly this year. It's the third instalment of a three-Test series, so we're really looking forward to that challenge. We've both got a good idea of what's coming, so it's a pretty exciting challenge for us."

The winner of today's contest will take on the winner of New Zealand v Wales while, in the semi-finals, South Africa take on last year's champions France and hosts Argentina meet Australia.

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