Ireland’s Steve Crosbie looking to bounce back from Baby Blacks defeat

Under-20s face France on Tuesday

Ireland’s Steve Crosbie during the game against Fiji in the Junior World Championship in France.

Ireland’s Steve Crosbie during the game against Fiji in the Junior World Championship in France.


Ireland U-20 outhalf Steve Crosbie says they will put the heartbreak of Thursday’s 31-26 defeat to New Zealand behind them quickly in an effort to emulate last year’s best ever finish of fifth in the Junior World Championship.

Mike Ruddock’s men will take on hosts France in a semi-final for fifth place at La Roche Sur Yon on Tuesday evening with the winners going on to play either Australia or Argentina the following Sunday. The losers of both semi-finals will clash for seventh place.

Final placings will decide the seedings for next season and Crosbie said the focus now would be to give Ireland every possible chance when the tournament is held in New Zealand next year.

Not possible
“There is no way we are taking the foot off the pedal here now. We set our goals to win this competition, but that’s not possible now.

“We want to finish as good as we can and keep the standard the same as last year,” said the Old Belvedere clubman who is nursing a shoulder injury after the clash with the Baby Blacks but is expected to be available for Tursday. “Ireland finished fifth last year so we are going to do the same, so it keeps the lads for next year to have a good opportunity of a good tournament,” he added.

Ireland’s fifth place last year should have ensured a more favourable draw this time round but a series of unlikely results, including a first ever defeat for the Baby Blacks when Wales shocked them, and Argentina’s victory over the Wallabies, left Ireland with a tough pool and while they saw off Australia and Fiji, New Zealand proved a bridge too far in a cracking contest in Vannes.

‘Very unlucky’
“When we had our 15 men on the pitch we showed what we could do and we came back at them. It was very unlucky at the end, but that’s rugby I suppose,” added the former St Gerard’s student who is now in DIT.

New Zealand will now go on to meet Wales in the semi-finals, with champions South Africa playing England.