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Ireland Under-20s on verge of semi-finals after historic New Zealand win

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It proved to be an historic weekend at the World Rugby Under-20 Championships as defending champions New Zealand were downed by Ireland and Argentina also claimed a memorable win against South Africa.  

Ireland, who beat Six Nations champions Wales in their tournament opener, stunned pre-tournament favourites New Zealand 33-24 at the Manchester City Academy Stadium. 

The loss was only New Zealand’s seventh since the U20 Championship began back in 2008 and ranks alongside the shock of Wales handing the then four-time defending champions their first-ever loss in the 2012 pool stages.

Ireland try-scorer Max Deegan said: "It’s the stuff of dreams, the moments you dream about in games where you have to score, you need to score, and to do that is honestly unbelievable.

“I can’t put it into words what it means, luckily enough I was able to pick up and went over. 

“It’s something special (to beat Wales and New Zealand back to back), in camp we knew we had it in us and were building well.

“There is a buzz in the camp and that is going to continue, but we have to take a step back now and focus on Georgia.”

New Zealand coach Scott Robertson said: “They made it difficult for us and we made it difficult for ourselves.

“We didn’t play the conditions very well and we played a team who plays for penalties. And perhaps we let them do that. 

“Credit to Ireland, they deserved it. I think it’s the first time they’ve beaten a New Zealand team at this level so well done to them.”

Argentina's players were jubilant at the final whistle after closing out the day with a 19-13 win over the Baby Boks at AJ Bell Stadium.

Fly-half Domingo Miotti kicked 14 points as Argentina capitalised on an ill-disciplined performance from South Africa in the final game of the day.

Elsewhere, Wales were desperate to bounce back to winning ways at the Manchester City Academy Stadium after their opening loss to Ireland, but in the end were fortunate to escape with a 10-9 victory against Georgia.

Australia overcame an error-strewn first-half performance and a 10-7 half-time deficit to register a 38-10 bonus-point win over Italy.

Mack Mason crossed for the last of Australia’s five tries and kicked 11 points as Adrian Thompson’s side scored 31 unanswered points after the break.

In the same group England stay top of the pile with a convincing 44-0 win over Scotland.

France, inspired by the silky running skills of centre Damian Penaud, powered their way to an impressive 46-14 seven-try victory against Japan at the AJ Bell Stadium to bounce back from an opening day defeat to Argentina.

See the Future Stars of Rugby at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester this June. For more information, including how to buy tickets, visit http://www.englandrugby.com/u20championships/ #WorldRugbyU20s

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