The number of players in each squad from this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship eligible for the 2017 tournament. Notable: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina could all return at least ten members of their 2016 squads, while finalists England and Ireland have the lowest number of potential returning players with eight and four respectively.
New Zealand completed a 3-0 whitewash over Wales at Forsyth Barr stadium this morning. Wales came out strongly in the first test, attacking with width and ambition and giving the All Blacks a scare in their first forty minutes of rugby in 2016. But the home side strengthened as the series went on, and Israel Dagg’s following a long defensive stand two minutes after the clock had gone red was a fitting culmination of their progression over the three games.
Continue reading “Statistical analysis: New Zealand vs. Wales”
Tomorrow evening at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, Ireland will contest the semi-final of the World Rugby U20 Championship against Argentina. The Pool C winners claimed impressive victories over France and South Africa in the group stages, and will be looking to emulate the success of their senior counterparts in last autumn’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final.
Continue reading “World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final preview: Argentina”
Before last week’s first test at Newlands, I wrote this piece for Ultimate Rugby on Ireland’s attack over the past 3 seasons under Joe Schmidt. It was great to see Ireland come out and move the ball wide effectively early in the contest – Paddy Jackson at 10, Robbie Henshaw at 13 and Jared Payne at 15 were all important to their success in this regard. Henshaw exhibited the passing ability that has been clear from his play with Connacht, while Jared Payne’s positional play attacking from fullback was far superior to that of Rob Kearney during the 6 Nations. The red card to CJ Stander in the opening quarter obviously caused Ireland to narrow their attack and implement a more conservative gameplan, but it will be fascinating to see how they approach the second test with a series win there for the taking.
This was originally a guest post on Ultimate Rugby.
Continue reading “Statistical analysis: Ireland’s attacking mindset”
The World Rugby U20 Championship begins in Manchester on Tuesday evening, and New Zealand – one of Ireland’s opponents in Pool A – are being backed by many to retain their title. This year’s Baby Blacks squad is slightly younger and less experienced than the 2015 side, but the high level of talent from 1 to 15 ensures that they will be in the running for the trophy when the tournament reaches its final stages in just under three weeks’ time.
Continue reading “World Rugby U20 Championship preview: New Zealand”