After some thrilling pool stage matches in the World Rugby U20 Championships, all twelve sides were back in action in the knockout stages, to determine their final fixtures on Sunday June 18.
Last Word on Rugby reporter Aaron Tillyer has been on hand to cover the World Rugby tournament. Here’s a quick round-up of all yesterdays action:
Ireland 52 Samoa 26
Ireland secured their first win of the competition after a strong showing against Samoa. The Irish capitalised on a poor Samoan display, running out 52-26 winners. Eight tries for the men in green, including a double for Ronan Kelleher keeps their hopes of a ninth place finish alive.
Despite scoring four tries, Samoa were dominated at the set piece and failed to get any foothold in that area. It was a long after for the Samoa back line, with Ireland’s attack running them hard throughout the game.
Argentina 25 Georgia 26
Georgia fully deserved their victory against Argentina, despite a late comeback. The Junior Lelos dominated from the off, scoring two early tries and open up a half time 23-11 lead. Georgia scrum-half Gela Aprasidze had his best game so far in the competition. Controlling the powerful rolling maul and kicking Georgia’s points. The hosts’ forward pack proved to much for the Argentinian defence but could only muster three points in the second half. A win for Georgia means they will contest the ninth place final with Ireland on Sunday.
Australia 42 Italy 19
Australia raced to a 14-0 lead against Italy through two Izaia Perese tries after just twelve minutes. Despite Australia’s early dominance, Italy pulled back twelve unanswered points and took a two point deficit into the break. Australia pulled away with Perese scoring his hat-trick try as well as a Sione Tuipulotu double.
Six tries gave Australia a commanding victory and will head into the 5th place final on Sunday. Italy managed one further try through Roberto Dal Zilio but eventually went down 42-19.
Scotland 29 Wales 25
Scotland defeated Wales 29-25 to book a place in the 5th place final, which will be their best ever finish at the World Championships. Three first half tries Darcy Graham, Ross McCann and Callum Hunter-Hill a 19-12 lead at half time. Wales took the lead with ten minutes to play with Arwel Robson scoring for the Welsh. But it wasn’t to be for the Welsh and a second for Graham on seventy-five minutes snatched victory for the Scots.
Scotland will now face Australia and Wales will play Italy on finals day on Sunday.
England 24 South Africa 22
England once again left it late to snatch a 24-22 victory against South Africa. England started the brighter and attacked from the off. Captain Zach Mercer touched down under the posts in the opening stages to give England the lead. Juarno Augustus levelled the scores before England’s Alex Mitchell gave his side a 17-12 half time lead.
The Junior Boks then took the lead through Augustus soon after the restart. A Curwin Bosch penalty extended the Boks’ lead to five points in the last ten minutes. But England weren’t going down lightly.
With two minutes to play, England ran through the phases. Captain Mercer broke three tackles to power over and level the scores. Max Malins kicked the extras to send England through to their fifth consecutive World Rugby U20 Championships final.
New Zealand 39 France 26
After that intense stand-off, it was New Zealand’s first half half dominance that inevitably won the game against France. The Baby Blacks scoring four tries before the break, to open up a resounding 29-0 lead.
An early Asafo Aumua score after the break looked like France would be heavily beaten. But momentum swung sharply in France’s favour. Two quick tries from Baptiste Couilloud and Baptiste Presenti gave Les Bleuets hope of catching up. Two more tries for the French including an outstanding effort from Lucas Tauzin which started from France’s goal line, reduced the score to just ten points in the final ten minutes.
But it was New Zealand’s standout fly half Tiaan Falcon who dashed all hopes of a French comeback. The powerful Kiwi team won 39-26, and will now face England in the final.
Final U20 Fixtures: Sunday June 18
Samoa v Argentina (11th place final)
Ireland v Georgia (9th place final)
Wales v Italy (7th place final)
Scotland v Australia (5th place final)
South Africa v France (Bronze Medal)
England v New Zealand (Grand Final)
Last Word on Sport congratulate all the teams, and wish to thank Aaron Tillyer for his first-class coverage of this World Rugby Under 20 Championship.