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The third and qualifying round of the 2015 U-20 tournament in Italy witnessed four powerhouses advancing into the semis. New Zealand, South Africa, France, and England are the four sides that can win the title in the twelve-nation competition.
On Wednesday, the Baby Blacks* defeated Ireland 25-3, the Junior Springboks romped over Ireland, and France handed England a stinging defeat 30-18. England, although dropping to 2-1, earned the fourth spot with a better point differential than either Australia (2-1) or Ireland (2-1).
The matchups for the Monday, June 15 games are as follows:
South Africa vs. England
New Zealand vs. France
Australia vs. Scotland
Ireland vs. Wales
Argentina vs. Italy
Samoa vs. Japan
* Tony Scott, our correspondent in New Zealand, explained the genesis of this nickname.
"The name 'Baby Blacks' stemmed from a youth team a long time ago, when veteran All Black players toured South Africa during the apartheid era. They called themselves the Cavaliers, and this unofficial visit created a controversy back home. Another sanctioned second team went to play Argentina, and were called 'Baby Blacks' to indicate they were authentic New Zealanders. The name, eventually, transferred to the U-20 team."
Tony Scott will report on the All Blacks' attempts to repeat as World Cup champions. Look for this insider's articles in August.