Ireland head coach Noel McNamara says it will be a challenge for his team to bounce back for Sunday’s relegation play-off with Japan in the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Ireland lost their fourth consecutive game of the tournament yesterday when Scotland emerged victorious 24-17 in the semi-final for ninth place.

McNamara’s charges began brightly and raced into a 14-3 lead, before the loss of two players to the sin bin and a Scottish resurgence saw them outscored six tries to four.

Ireland are now set for their lowest ever finish in the 11 years of this competition and will be relegated to the World Trophy competition next year if they don’t win against Japan in Beziers.

"It’s going to be a challenge, particularly when you are coming off the back of a few losses," he told RTÉ Sport. "It’s really important that we believe in what we are doing. We must recognise what we did well in the game.

"We did some good things. We had some positive defensive sets and scored some good tries, but we made errors."

"We have a massive game now on Sunday."

The head coach says the Scottish decision to rest players in their final pool game against England paid dividend, but lamented the fact that they lost two players to yellow cards.

"I think we started well. We conceded a penalty early and that was a trend throughout the game. Our discipline at times cost us, particularly a couple of high tackles," he said, adding that the yelolow cards "clearly didn’t help our situation".

"We were 14-3 ahead and looked to be in a strong position, but we made a couple of errors that allowed Scotland into the game.

"Once they got their tails up and got a foothold into the game, you got to give them credit, they put us away well."