Following two enthralling rounds of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2024, nine teams remain in contention for a place in the semi-finals.

New Zealand, Ireland and England head into the final round of the pool stage with their destiny in their own hands but that does not mean they will still be in top spot by the end of Tuesday.

With six matches to be played in Cape Town and Stellenbosch on day three, we take a look at what each nation needs to do to qualify for the semi-finals.

Pool A

The equation facing New Zealand on day three could not be simpler – avoid defeat against Spain in the final match at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch and they will be through to the semi-finals as pool winners.

A draw would take New Zealand to 12 points and even if Wales beat France with a try bonus point to match that tally, the six-time champions would finish top on the head-to-head rule having beaten the Welsh 41-34 on day one.

However, depending on the result of the earlier match between defending champions France and Wales, New Zealand could actually lose and still top the pool.

Should Les Bleuets beat Wales without a bonus point, then New Zealand would progress regardless of their result against Spain, thanks to their dramatic 27-26 win against the French in round two.

If France secure a five-point victory, then New Zealand would need only one point to guarantee top spot and a first semi-final since 2018.

Wales start the day in second place in Pool A and would put pressure on New Zealand with victory against France.

If they pick up a first win in the fixture since 2020 without a bonus point, then New Zealand need one point to qualify. Should Wales secure all five match points then Jono Gibbes’ side need a draw or two bonus points to top the pool.

Any victory on Tuesday would put Wales in the box seat to reach the semi-finals as the best runner-up.

Having lost both of their opening matches, Spain are the only team in Pool A that cannot make the semi-finals.

Pool B

Ireland take on Australia in a winner-takes-all contest for top spot in Pool B.

Despite losing 17-12 to Italy on day two, Australia would leapfrog Ireland – last year’s runners-up – with victory as long as they deny their opponents more than one losing bonus point.

If Ireland were to finish within seven points of Australia and score at least four tries, then the Junior Wallabies would have to secure all five match points to move above them.

That is because if Australia win and the two sides finish level on 10 or 11 points, it would be the Junior Wallabies who advance by virtue of beating Ireland.

Ireland know that simply avoiding defeat will see them through to the semi-finals as pool winners.

Although they pulled off a famous win against Australia in round two, Italy are unlikely to progress even if they beat Georgia with a bonus point and the Junior Wallabies lose to Ireland.

That is because the other teams with one victory from their two matches so far, and in contention for the best runners-up spot, have secured at least one bonus point. Italy have not.

Georgia start day three with one solitary point and cannot finish higher than third in Pool B, regardless of the other result due to their head-to-head record against Australia.

Pool C

England take on South Africa in the final match of day three at Athlone Sports Stadium needing only one bonus point to secure their place in the semi-finals.

Should they lose and fail to score four tries or not finish within seven points of the Junior Springboks, however, they could be overhauled by either of the two teams below them.

The hosts will know what they need to do to make the semi-finals at the start of their match against England, given Argentina will already have played Fiji.

A bonus-point victory against England, while denying their opponents one, would mean South Africa climb into first place unless Argentina have earlier claimed a five-point victory against Fiji.

Should England, South Africa and Argentina all finish day three on 10 points then points difference will be used to determine the pool winner with the head-to-head record used to split the remaining two teams.

England currently lead the way in this regard, with a points difference of +56, while South Africa’s is +31 and Los Pumitas’ is zero.

If all three of those teams have the same points difference then the nation with the best try difference will finish top. The next determining factors are points scored and tries scored.

Argentina, therefore, need a big win against Fiji to have any hope of climbing into first place.

Fiji cannot qualify for the semi-finals having lost their opening two matches to England and South Africa.