IRB Junior World Championship 2010
Mapletoft wary of Ireland threat
June 8, 2010
England lost to Ireland at Kingsholm in February © Getty Images
England coach Mark Mapletoft says his side faces a considerable test when they take on Ireland in their second Pool B match of the 2010 Junior World Championship.
England comprehensively defeated Argentina 48-22 in their opening match in Rosario but Mapletoft expects the Under 20 Six Nations champions to provide a sterner test.
"We lost to Ireland in the Six Nations so we know the next game is going to be tough," said Mapletoft. "You know they'll be really smarting from their defeat by France. They were probably expecting to have won that so we know we need to refocus quickly and prepare as well as we can for Wednesday afternoon.
"I was really impressed with Ireland through the Six Nations, they're a very, very well organised side, very physical, they have got some very, very exciting runners and some exciting players and we'll need to play our best game of the season to come through that."
Ireland narrowly lost their opening game to France 25-22, so they desperately need to beat England on Wednesday. According to Mapletoft, it will make them difficult to beat.
"Whether Ireland have won or lost they're going to come out fighting. You know simply because you've beaten a side once already during a season it gives you confidence, but at the same time the team that lost perhaps have something more to prove. We'll see."
Buoyed by their opening victory against Ireland, France will be expecting more of the same against Argentina. France trailed the Six Nations champions at half-time and looked set to draw the match before replacement Gilles Bosch landed a nerveless penalty to secure a 25-22 win.
After their crushing 44-11 defeat of Fiji at the Estadio CA Colon in Santa Fe, favourites New Zealand entertain Samoa for their second Pool A match at the same stadium. Samoa can turn to some positives after their narrow opening defeat to Wales, a match they possibly should have won were it not for a poor kicking display that saw them squander four penalties and two conversions in their 22-13 loss.
Having ridden their luck against Samoa, Wales take on a Fiji side still reeling from their heavy loss against New Zealand at the Club Atletico Estudiantes, Paraná. Wales should go into the game as favourites but Fiji have pace to burn with Josh Matavesi scoring one of the tries of the opening round.
Wednesday's Pool C matches see Australia take on Tonga and South Africa play Scotland.
Australia enjoyed a dominant 58-13 win over Scotland in their opening match while their opponents slumped to a 40-14 loss against South Africa. Wing Aidan Toua put in a starring performance with a hat-trick for Australia and Tonga's defences, so easily exposed against South Africa, could struggle again.
Scotland have it all to do against a South African side that underlined their title credentials against Tonga. Barring a huge upset, it looks like another case of damage limitation for the Scots in Santa Fe.