Junior Boks see off Samoan threat
The Junior Springboks were forced to work hard for their 21-8 victory over a fired-up Samoan Under-20 side in their final pool game.
The Junior Springboks were forced to work hard for their 21-8 victory over a fired-up Samoan Under-20 side in their final Junior World Championship pool game.
They will face hosts New Zealand in the semifinals after the hosts bounced back from their defeat to the South Africa U20 side last week to beat Scotland comprehensively and secure the final play-off spot as the best second-placed side.
It was a somewhat frustrating outing for the South Africans who had to deal with a combination of the slippery conditions and a physical Samoan team, but they did enough in the end to continue their winning run in the competition as they turn their attention to their semifinal.
It was a tense and scoreless opening 30 minutes as the Samoans kept hold of the ball and showed great patience in playing a direct style up the middle of the field and forcing South Africa to make plenty of tackles.
The Junior Bok defence held up well under what was at times a relentless onslaught, but the pressure eventually told and it was eventually a charge-down that saw Nathaniel Apa go over for the opening try.
The Pacific Island team were struck a blow just before the break when No.8 Richard Mariota was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdown from his team.
The South Africans proceeded to pile on the pressure, and their No.8 Aidon Davis would eventually crash over from a powerful scrum in front of the poles to put them 7-5 up.
However, Samoa would take a slender 8-7 advantage into the break as flyhalf William Talataina Mu slotted a penalty from the touchline on the stroke of half-time.
The Junior Boks came out firing in the second half and should have scored after a switch saw wing Duhan van der Merwe burst through midfield, but he was brought down just short of the line and they were unable to capitalise.
Samoa were down to 14 men again shortly afterwards when Apa was sent to the bin for a high swinging arm tackle that hit Sergeal Petersen in the throat.
South Africa responded by taking it wide and they were held up over the line twice as Jesse Kriel and then Andre Esterhuizen both had a crack. Davis nearly had his second try after another big shove, but lost the ball forward in the act of grounding the ball as the Samoans continued to hold out desperately.
They had a chance to take the lead back when Samoa were penalised for going offside at a ruck, but Handre Pollard put his kick wide which typified the frustrating time his team was having.
South Africa's dominance finally counted when big inside centre Esterhuizen crashed over next to the poles for their second try, to give them the lead back with 20 minutes to play.
Samoa threw everything at them in the final stages as they looked to snatch victory, but it was not to be as Petersen had the last word by scoring under the poles from a turnover.
For South Africa U20:
Tries: Davis, Esterhuizen, Petersen
Cons: Pollard 3
Pen: Talataina Mu
Yellow cards: Richard Moriata (Samoa, 33 mins - Repeated infringements), Nathanial Apa (Samoa, 47 mins, Dangerous tackle)
South Africa U20: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 JP Smith, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Thabo Mabuza, 5 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Warrick Gelant.
Samoa U20: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Harry Luteru, 13 Joseph Ikenasio, 12 Nathaniel Apa, 11 Nu'u Nu'u, 10 William Talataina Mu, 9 Mark Talaese, 8 Richard Mariota, 7 Henry Stowers (captain), 6 Sootala Fa'aso'o, 5 Cameron Skelton, 4 Jotham Wrampling, 3 Etimani Sului, 2 Leif Schwenke, 1 Fereti Saaga.
Replacements: 16 Ieremia Mataena, 17 Louis Kapeteni, 18 Andrew Lemalu, 19 Joe Lee, 20 Ezra Meleisea, 21 Emil Pittman, 22 Johan Fagasua, 23 Aukuso Tuitama.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
New Zealand U20 54-7 Scotland U20
Having been handed a lifeline by Wales' win over France, New Zealand were not about to waste the opportunity and tries by Tom Sanders and Josh Renton in the opening quarter laid the foundations for the victory over Scotland.
Tries from Mitchell Jacobsen and a second for Renton had the bonus point wrapped up by the 48th minute, but despite having already lost their captain Simon Hickey to injury the Baby Blacks were not finished and crossed for four more tries before the final whistle.
Scotland did get on the scoreboard in the final minutes when replacement Damien Hoyland intercepted and raced away to score, but they have ended the pool stages as the bottom seed and must now battle to remain in the Championship for next year.
New Zealand try scorer Renton said: "It is a huge turnaround. It wasn't in our hands this morning until we found out the other results - thanks to Wales they gave us that opportunity and we had to go out there and put a performance on the field. We are really happy we did that but now we have to move on to South Africa and we had them a week ago so we know what we need to do."
For New Zealand U20:
Tries: Sanders, Renton 2, Jacobsen, McKenzie, Faiane, Tavae-Aso, Fukofuka
Cons: Hickey 2, Mo'unga 5
For Scotland U20:
New Zealand U20: 15 Richard Moúnga, 14 Tauasosi Tuimavave, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Kavinga Finau, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey (captain), 9 Josh Renton, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Mitchell Jacobson, 6 Kyle Harris, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Troy Callander, 3 Tim Cadwallader, 2 James O'Reilly, 1 Scott Mellow.
Replacements: 16 Epalahame Faiva, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Atunaisa Moli, 19 James Tucker, 20 Mathew Peni, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Vince Tavae Aso, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Scotland U20: 15 Ruairidh Young, 14 Jamie Farndale, 13 Christopher Dean, 12 Blair Hutchison (captain), 11 Gavin Lowe, 10 Ben Chalmers, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Gabriel Carroll, 6 James Ritchie, 5 Lewis Carmichael, 4 Andy Cramond, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 James Malcolm, 1 Jack Cosgrove.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Phil Cringle, 18 Darcy Rae, 19 Tommy Spinks, 20 Sam James, 21 Alex Glashan, 22 Damien Hoyland, 23 Gavin Parker.
Referee: Aki Aso (Japan)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Ireland U20 38-0 Fiji U20
Having missed out on a first semifinal last year on point difference to eventual champions England, this time Ireland's destiny was in their own hands against Fiji - they needed to win and score four tries.
It took them until the half-hour mark to open the scoring with a penalty try, referee Alex Ruiz also showing the first of three yellow cards to Fiji forwards before the break. Ireland were awarded another penalty try before half-time and when Ciaran Gaffney scored 10 minutes after the break history was within touching distance for the men in green.
Thirteen minutes remained when the crucial bonus point try came through another penalty try, but replacement Conor McKeon then had the final say with Ireland's fifth try to ensure a top four finish for the first time under coach Mike Ruddock.
Ruddock commented: "We were delighted to get that performance. We were rapt when we scored that fourth try. We thought we had scored a minute before. Fiji to their credit did not lie down - they kept tackling, were very competitive, big strong boys.
"A great reward for our set piece work. This was not a game for fancy rugby - it was a game for control. Trying to chase four tries in those conditions is not easy no matter who you play."
For Ireland U20:
Tries: Gaffney, McKeon, penalty try 3
Cons: Ringrose 3, McKeon
For Fiji U20:
Ireland U20: 15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Ciaran Gaffney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Ryan Foley, 8 Jack O'Donoghue (captain), 7 Rory Moloney, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Ross Molony, 4 Stephen Gardiner, 3 Rory Burke, 2 Max Abbott, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Donnellan, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Oisin Heffernan, 19 Darragh Moloney, 20 Frank Taggart, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Conor McKeon, 23 Harrison Brewer.
Fiji U20: 15 Tubuka Vueti, 14 Aisake Rokobuli, 13 Poasa Waqanibau, 12 Semi Camaisala, 11 Adrea Cocagi (captain), 10 Josese Kurukava, 9 Leone Nawai, 8 Vincent Sosefo, 7 Ameniasi Natuiyaga, 6 Paula Bukavece, 5 Simione Naiduki, 4 Lote Nasiga, 3 Apolosi Ranawai, 2 Peniona Toga, 1 Aseri Robarobalevu.
Replacements: 16 Wilisoni Lagi, 17 Jack Dreunimolea, 18 Samuela Tawake, 19 Marika Tokalauvere, 20 Vasikali Mudu, 21 Marika Tivitivi, 22 Elia Mroisio, 23 Orisi Nawaqaliva.
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)
Australia U20 29-3 Italy U20
Australian U20 have missed out on making the semifinals of the IRB Junior World Championship despite defeating Italy 29-3 at in Pukekohe.
Australia secured second spot in Pool A, but New Zealand's bonus-point victory over Scotland means that the hosts will progress as the best second-placed team.
Australian U20 coach Adrian Thompson was happy with the way the team adapted to the wet New Zealand conditions.
"It wasn't ideal conditions out there today but our backs really adjusted and were still able to throw the ball around and use their pace out wide.
"The Italians really tested us in the forwards, particularly in the scrum where there were some real contests in the slippery conditions.
"Although it looks like we haven’t made the semifinals, which was our target for the tournament, we will not be stepping off the pressure as we look to finish the tournament in the strongest position possible," he said.
In a traditional wet New Zealand encounter, the Australians started well against Italy, dominating possession and territory.
Italy forced their way into the Australian half but some resolute defence from the Australians prevented the Italians making any ground, leading to a frustrated Giacomo De Santis attempting a drop goal to get some points for the Italians' territorial gains, which went well wide.
The wet conditions dampened the Australians usual fast-running style, as both teams attempted to adjust to the wet conditions. It took eight minutes for them to cross the Italian line with Feleti Kaitu’u scoring off a powerful forwards pick and drive that allowed Australia to score its first try of the match.
Australia continued to dominate the match as Italy struggled to get possession off the dominant Australian pack. Ross Haylett-Petty enforced the forwards domination with Australia’s second try, again with Australia keeping the ball in hand at the base of the ruck.
Italy's short forays into the Australian half could only yield points from a penalty as Italian flyhalf Giacomo De Santis registered the first points of the match for his side, off a penalty kick from the side of the field.
Luke Burton was the last of many hands to touch the ball down over the line as Australia scored its third try of the match moments before half time. Burton converted his own try to take Australia’s lead to 24-3 at the break.
The second half started with Australia continuing to control the match with possession and territory, as the pressure mounted on Italy.
Australian captain Sean McMahon reminded everyone of his Super Rugby experience at the Melbourne Rebels and was a dominant force at the breakdown, frequently effecting turnovers and securing Australia’s ball.
For the majority of the second half, Australia was camped on Italy's line for multiple phases, as the Italian defence challenged Australia in attack. However eventually the constant pressure paid dividends with Jack Payne scoring in the corner, ensuring a bonus point try for Australia as the score moved to 29-3.
For Australia U20:
Tries: Kaitu'u, Payne, Haylett-Petty, Burton
Cons: Burton 3
Pen: De Santis
Australia U20: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Brad Lacey, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Andrew Robinson, 10 David Horwitz, 9 Angus Pulver, 8 Ross Haylett-Petty, 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Sean McMahon (captain), 5 Jack Payne, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Feleti Kaitu'u, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vea, 17 Rory O'Connor, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Lolo Fakaosilea, 20 Sam Croke, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Jimmy Stewart, 23 Conrad Quick.
Italy U20: 15 Matteo Gasparini, 14 Filippo Lombardo, 13 Mattia Bellini, 12 Gabriele Manganiello, 11 Lorenzo Bruno, 10 Giacomo De Santis, 9 Maicol Azzolini (captain), 8 Matteo Cornelli, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Matteo Archetti, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Filippo Scalvi, 3 Paolo Buonfiglio, 2 Marco Silva, 1 Derrick Appiah
Replacements: 16 Francesco Vento, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Adriano Daniele, 19 Riccardo Michieletto, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Simone Parisotto, 22 Filippo Buscema, 23 Gabriele Di Giulio.
Referee: Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Brendan Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Wales U20 13-3 France U20
Wales upset the formbook at the Junior World Championship in New Zealand to beat France and qualify for the fifth to eighth place play-offs.
A Tom Williams try and eight points from the boot of flyhalf Angus O'Brien was enough to see Wales win the game and finish second in the pool.
The two sides finished level on points in the group but Wales earned second place by virtue of winning the game between the two sides.
It was an outstanding performance from Byron Hayward's side who had seen their chances of reaching the semifinals of the competition significantly diminish on the back of Friday's defeat at the hands of Ireland.
They fell behind in this game to a fourth minute penalty from Baptiste Serin but were level by half time after Cross Keys and Newport Gwent Dragons pivot O'Brien converted his single penalty shot at goal, 14 minutes before the interval.
A second successful kick from O'Brien edged Wales in front and though France had their moments it was a converted try from scrumhalf Tom Williams that earned the youngsters the valuable win.
Seemingly shut down by the French defence, Dragons centre Jack Dixon sent through the perfect kick that Williams caught and took to the line. O'Brien converted and though there were difficult moments in the final quarter, Wales held on to give themselves a chance of finishing fifth, while France will compete in the 9th to 12th place play-offs.
Wales Under 20 team manager Mark Taylor said: "It was an excellent performance all round today. The boys stuck to the task and showed a huge amount of desire and commitment. We put some good defensive phases together and we took our one scoring opportunity well.
"It's a tough tournament and following the disappointing defeat to Ireland, it was important to get back on track with a win. We can now aim to reach the fifth place play-off which will be played at Eden Park on Finals Day along with the third place play-off and the final."
Pens: O'Brien 2
Pen: Baptiste Serin
Wales U20: 15 Dafydd Howells, 14 Tyler Morgan, 13 Steffan Hughes (captain), 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Joshua Adams, 10 Angus O'Brien, 9 Tom Williams, 8 Nicky Smith, 7 Elliot Dee, 6 Nicky Thomas, 5 Joe Davies, 4 Rory Thornton, 3 Olly Cracknell, 2 Will Boyde, 1 James Benjamin.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Callum Lewis, 19 Ben Roach, 20 Scott Matthews, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Ethan Davies, 23 Harri Evans.
France U20: 15 Pierre Justes, 14 Kylan Hamdaoui, 13 Xavier Mignot, 12 Ivan Roux, 11 Arthur Bonneval, 10 Brandon Fajardo, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Francois Cros (captain), 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Jean-Blaise Lespinasse, 5 Jean Baptiste Singer, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Tommy Raynaud, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Oleg Ishchenko.
Replacements: 16 Florian Ardiaca, 17 Youssef Amrouni, 18 Simon Courcoul, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Jean Thomas, 21 Thibault Daubagna, 22 Francois Bouvier, 23 Lucas Blanc.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey (New Zealand), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
TMO: Peter Nock (New Zealand)
England U20 17-16 Argentina U20
A late Sam Olver penalty gave England U20 a 17-16 win against Argentina at North Harbour Stadium. The reigning champions now face Ireland in the Junior World Championship semifinal, a contest coach Nick Walshe says he is 'relishing'.
In torrential rain, Olver hit three penalties to Argentina's two in the opening 25 minutes to put England 9-3 up.
Argentina captain Patricio Fernandez hit one back for Argentina before the break to make it 9-6, which is how it stayed until early in the second 40 when Fernandez levelled the game at nine-apiece.
The breakthrough eventually came with 55 minutes played - England managed to get the ball through the hands and a quick pass from Aaron Morris found wing George Catchpole waiting out wide to dive over.
Olver's conversion sailed just wide, and the miss looked as if it may prove costly as Argentina scored late on, which was superbly converted by Fernandez from the touchline.
England piled on the pressure in the dying minutes and were rewarded with a 79th minute penalty which Olver coolly slotted over to make it 17-16.
Walshe said: "The conditions were extremely tough, but it was the same for both teams and we're just pleased to get the win. We know that we can play better, and we'll have to up our game for the semifinal. We're relishing the opportunity to play Ireland, they've had a good competition so far and it'll be an interesting game."
Captain Callum Braley added: "It's never easy playing in wind and rain like that, but the lads fronted up and did well to get over the line. We're looking forward to the semifinal now. We're three games into a five game competition and have two massive matches coming up."
For England U20:
Pens: Olver 4
For Argentina U20:
Pens: Fernandez 3
England U20: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 George Catchpole, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Callum Braley (captain), 8 James Chisholm, 7 Cameron Neild, 6 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Jordan Onojaife, 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Alex Lundberg.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Harry Rudkin, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Gus Jones, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Nathan Earle.
Argentina U20: 15 Patricio Fernandez (captain), 14 German Schulz, 13 Emiliano Boffelli, 12 Tomas Granella, 11 Federico Gimenez, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Juan Bernardini, 8 Santiago Portillo, 7 Lautaro Bavaro, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Guido Pagadizabal, 4 Ignacio Larrague, 3 Tomas Ramirez, 2 Juan Ignacio Sanchez, 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Ignacio David Calles, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto Heiland, 19 Vittorio Tomas Rosti, 20 Jose Deheza, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Santiago Alvarez.
Referee: Joaquin Montes (Uruguay)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Grant Stuart (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)