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Junior World Championships: Irish look for seventh heaven

The Ireland U-20 side will bid for their best-ever finish at the Junior World Championships tomorrow when they take on Wales in a battle for seventh place at Treviso.

Ireland's best finish in the tournament was two years ago in Japan when they came eighth, but tomorrow's game could be their last in the competition for some time due to the IRFU's plan to pull out of next year's event in South Africa, primarily because of player-welfare issues.

Last year, Ireland finished ninth after losing all three pool games and that gave them a poor seeding, which saw them pooled with England and South Africa this year, effectively, giving them little chance of making the semi-finals.

England will bid to halt New Zealand's domination in the tournament as the Baby Blacks go for their fourth title.

Ireland will look to finish on a high after a tournament in which they under-performed.

England should have been beaten on the opening night and while Ireland produced a storming finish to defeat Scotland, the chasm between them and South Africa increased when they met twice in nine days, with the Baby Boks winning the first game 42-26 and the second 57-15.

Now Mike Ruddock will bid for a good finish: “We came off a lot of tackles and were punished against South Africa and we need to get that right. Both sides play well when they hold the ball. But at this stage the freshest team will win it.”

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