This competition has really snuck up on me this year! At least for all those folks in Europe waiting for the RWC warmup games there is some rugby for fill the void. This tournament is always a great place to see the next generation of International talent. Remember though that not all the players will go on to have professional rugby careers. That even goes for the winning team!
Here is my video with my World Rugby U20s Championship Round 1 Predictions:
South Africa U20 v Scotland U20 – South Africa U20 by 10
I’m not sure how the Baby Boks are travelling coming into this tournament. However they did come 3rd last year and South Africa always produce young talent. Scotland didn’t fair so well coming 10th and only winning 1 game. They also didn’t have a great 6 Nations again only picking up 1 victory that left them bottom of the table.
Australia U20 v Italy U20 – Australia U20 by 10
Italy managed to finish 1 place above Scotland in the 6 Nations this year, on bonus points, after also only getting 1 victory. Australia on the flip side thrashed the Baby Blacks (NZ) 24-0 on the Gold Coast recently. With that form they’ll be hoping to do well but Pool B looks very tough!
Argentina U20 v Wales U20 – Argentina U20 by 5
Argentina will be looking at their Pool thinking they have a good chance of making the semi-finials. This game will be key. Last year Argentina finished 6th and Wales 7th so this should be a cracker. Wales were only 4th in the 6 Nations so aren’t coming into this tournament with much form.
New Zealand U20 v Georgia U20 – New Zealand U20 by 30
As mentioned above the Baby Blacks had a pre-tournament wakeup call. 24-0 thrashing by Australia is a worrying sign and they will need to up their physicality. You’d expect Georgia to bring that but it would be a major upset if 9th placed Georgia from last year were to upset 4th place New Zealand.
The Baby Blacks will be a big topic on the All Blacks Edition this Wednesday evening at 8pm NZ Time.
France U20 v Fiji U20 – France U20 by 30
France at the reigning champions after they picked up their first title last year. They have backed that up with a decent 2nd place in the 6 Nations this year. This is the hardest possible start for Fiji who got promoted into the Championship at the expense of Japan. I expect this is going to be a matter of damage limitation.
England U20 v Ireland U20 – Ireland U20 by 3
This is a cracker fo a game. Ireland topped the 6 nations with a grand slam this year. After finishing 11th in this tournament last year that is some turnaround. England who were beaten finalists last year have a really tough opening game. It shouldn’t be as they are 1st seeds Pool B and Ireland are 4th seeds! This really is the pool of death.
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