NZ crowned Oceania U20 Champions
FINAL WRAP: New Zealand beat Australia 43-6 in the final round of the Oceania Under-20 Championship to take the trophy for the third consecutive year.
Australia started well, but were unable to turn early territorial gains into sustained pressure, allowing New Zealand to run away with the match. With a number of players unavailable for the match due to Super Rugby commitments, the Australians will look to return to a full complement when the squad for the World Championship is named on Sunday, May 7.
Australia head coach, Simon Cron said: "New Zealand was a really good side. Their catch and pass was good, as was there running lines which is probably the area that let us down.
"I thought defensively some of the boys did a lot of work in that forward pack, in the backs we didn't complete many launch plays. It's hard to attack when you drop the ball off the first phase."
In the opening stages of the match, Australia dominated possession and territory as they starved New Zealand of the ball. Harry Nucifora scored the first points of the match for the men in gold as he gave the home side a 3-0 lead.
New Zealand were able to earn possession and score their first points of the match off the back of a dominant scrum within the Australian red zone, with captain Luke Jacobson diving over for the try.
New Zealand continued to test the Australian defence taking their lead to 10-3 through a penalty by flyhalf Tiaan Falcon. New Zealand added to the scoreboard despite an aggressive defensive effort by the Australians, as Isaia Walker-Leawere crossed the line after several phases of attack taking the score to 17-3.
Harry Nucifora kept the Australians in touch with a second penalty kick but a try to New Zealand fullback Will Jordan brought the score to 24-6 in favour of the visitors. New Zealand compounded Australia's issues with another try, as centre Tamati Ruka Tua scored in the corner to take a 29-6 lead.
A late surge in the first half by New Zealand led to an infringement by Harry Nucifora who was sent to the sin bon on the cusp of half-time.
New Zealand shot out of the blocks in the second half and continued to ask questions of the Australian defence as tries to Tom Christie and Luke Jacobson extended the lead to 43-6. Australia fought hard in the final stages to cross the line but were unable to crack the New Zealand defence as the game wore on.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Luke Jacobson, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Will Jordan, Tamati Ruka Tua, Tom Christie, Luke Jacobson
Cons: Tiaan Falcon 5
Pen: Tiaan Falcon
Pens: Harry Nucifora 2
New Zealand Under-20: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Tamati Tua, 12 Orbyn Leger, 11 Tima Faingaanuku, 10 Tiaan Falcon, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Luke Jacobson (captain), 7 Tom Christie, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Sam Caird, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth.
Replacements: 16 JP Sauni, 17 Harrison Allan, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Jacob Pierce, 20 Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 23 Caleb Clarke.
Australia Under-20: 15 Semisi Tupou, 14 Jayden Ngamanu, 13 Dylan Riley, 12 Tony Hunt, 11 James Ramm, 10 Nick Jooste, 9 Harry Nucifora, 8 Reece Hewat (captain), 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Ryan McCauley, 3 Harry Chapman, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Efi Maafu, 17 Sama Malolo, 18 Vaauli Faamausili, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Theo Strang, 22 Isaac Lucas, 23 Clay Uyen.
In the second match of Round Three, Samoa produced an amazing second half to beat Fiji 39-29 after Fiji led 22-10 at half-time.
Samoa outscored Fiji five tries to four in the end as Samoa stormed home after an impressive first 40 minutes by Fiji. Samoan fullback Ricky Ene was impressive with the boot, kicking three penalties and four conversions. The win put Samoa third in the Championship.
Tries: Ivan Fepuleai, Oikimene Paisami, Pupi Ah See 2, Setu Enoka
Cons: Ricky Ene 4
Pens: Ricky Ene 3
Tries: Veramua Turagavola, Ratu Peni Matawalu, Poniani Batiniu, Jamie John Kotz
Cons: Jamie John Kotz 3
Pen: Jamie John Kotz