Ireland and England name unchanged sides for U20 final

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With less than 24 hours to kick off, Ireland and England have named unchanged sides for the World Rugby U20 Championship final on Saturday in Manchester.

Excitement is building in the north-west of England ahead of the decider, with standing room only at the AJ Bell Stadium, where the match will be broadcast to over 150 million homes around the world.

Ireland make their first appearance in an U20 Championship final, while this will be a record seventh appearance in the final for England, but only the second time that two northern hemisphere teams contested the final, after England beat Wales in 2013.

Elsewhere on match day five at the tournament, South Africa will play Argentina in the third place play-off, New Zealand face Australia for fifth place, Scotland play Wales in the seventh place decider, France face Georgia for ninth position in the standings, while the relegation battle will be played out between Italy and Japan at Manchester City Academy Stadium. 

Speaking ahead of the final, England captain Harry Mallinder said: “The experience at this tournament has been amazing. I’m incredibly proud and it’s a great honour for me to captain my country and to play with such a talented bunch of lads in Manchester, in front of friends and family.”We know Ireland are an incredibly talented side and they’ve been very strong in this tournament. But we know that if we get our game right and if we prepare well, we’ll be in a good place.”

Irish captain James Ryan said: “England are a top quality side with some really direct players and some really good outside-backs. They deserve to be in the final and we’re looking forward to a big encounter. “We are proud to be where we are, we’ve already made a bit of history but we don’t want to settle for second place.”