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Rugby News

Championship hopefuls set for showdown

Sam Costelow (left) stands up to an All Blacks attack in the rain of Rosario
Sam Costelow (left) stands up to an All Blacks attack in the rain of Rosario

The Leicester Tigers representatives at the World Under-20s Championship will be in direct opposition in the fifth-place play-off in Argentina this weekend.

After Wales – including their Tigers duo Tommy Reffell and Sam Costelow – won their semi-final on Monday afternoon, Leicester prop Joe Heyes was part of the England team that turned the tables on Ireland to set up a showdown on Saturday.

Wales booked their place with a tense and dramatic victory over the Junior All Blacks in Rosario.

They led 5-0 on the artificial pitch at the Racecourse Stadium when the game was held up by adverse weather and the players were taken off the field for more than an hour by referee Christophe Ridley as rain continued to lash the city.

With Tigers flanker Reffell maintaining his ever-present record in the back row and club colleague Costelow introduced as a first-half replacement, it was still 5-0 at half-time and remained that way until the Junior All Blacks snatched the lead with just 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Costelow had left the field with a facial injury by that stage and the Kiwis must have thought victory was theirs. But with two minutes left on the clock, the Welsh were awarded a penalty at an attacking lineout and fly-half Cai Evans kicked the three-pointer for an 8-7 lead.

The Welsh still had to wait, though, as opposite number Fergus Burke put a 40-metre kick wide of the posts in the closing action of the game.

Tigers tighthead prop Heyes started his third game in the Championship as England clashed with Ireland for a second time in the tournament on a saturated and heavy natural grass pitch at Club Old Resian.

Josh Hodge contributed all of the points, including a breakthrough try, as England led 13-6 at half-time despite having to cope with two yellow cards and the stats showing their rivals had dominated possession and territory.

It was already 16-9 when England capitalised on a close-range scrum to claim a second converted try and stretch the lead to 14 points.

But Ireland roared back with two tries in just two minutes and, with just seven minutes left on the clock, the sides were level at 23 apiece.

Heyes had been replaced before England collected a third yellow card and had to play out the game with 14 men. But the forwards safely built play through a series of phases in attack and, with the clock already in the red, took play up to the tryline for Tom Willis to dive over and score. Hodge took his tally to 45 points in the tournament with the conversion as England sealed a 30-23 victory over the Six Nations champions.