Baby Boks go top after downing Georgia
JUNIOR WORLD CUP ROUND TWO WRAP: The Junior Springboks leapt to the top of Pool C when they defeated tournament hosts Georgia 38-14 in a match that saw eight tries, three yellow cards and a red card.
Wandisile Simelane and Manie Libbok bagged braces while Juarno Augustus and Yaw Penxe rounded off the South Africans' six tries. Lasha Tabidze and Giorgi Gogoladze grabbed five pointers for the hosts.
The Junior Springboks will face a nervy wait on the availability of Zain Davids, who lost his cool in the final minute of the match and shown a straight red card for a head-butting an opponent.
In the other Pool C encounter, a final second try handed France a dramatic 26-25 victory over Argentina.
In Pool A, Australia continued their unbeaten run with a tough 33-26 win against Oceania rivals, Samoa. While England earned their second bonus-point victory after a hard-earned 34-22 victory over Wales.
New Zealand may have been playing in temperatures in the mid-30s but it was Italy that felt the heat in going down 26-68 in their Pool B encounter while Ireland's hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals were dashed when Scotland got the better of them 32-28 in a hugely entertaining eight-try contest.
South Africa 38-14 Georgia
The Junior Springboks overcame a tightly-fought first quarter against the tournament hosts in front of a hostile crowd and managed to outscore them three tries to one in the first half. They built on this with a solid second-half showing, in which they added three tries to take their total for the match to six.
"Our goal was to secure the win with a bonus point, so I am definitely pleased. It was tough out there with the heat and the passionate crowd.
"The Georgians played well in the beginning and made it tough for us at times as they tried to slow down the game while we tried to speed it up but we will take the bonus point win.
"We scored a few fantastic tries. We have a very talented backline that can score tries from anywhere on the field. The character the team showed on defence to shut out Georgia after several phases at times during the match was also outstanding.
"This is a special group of players and we can build on this performance going into the match against Argentina," coach Chean Roux said.
Junior Springboks No.8 Juarno Augustus crossed the chalk for the team's first try from a pick-and-go in the 16th minute, which fullback Jeanluc Cilliers converted to hand the team a 7-0 lead.
Georgia fought back strongly and managed to get close to the South African's try-line on a few occasions after camping there for several minutes and their efforts paid off with a converted try by prop Ushangi Tcheishvili to level the scores.
The Junior Boks, however, hit their straps minutes later, and the points followed as centre Simelane danced his way through the defence, while flyhalf Libbok touched down for the team's third try four minutes before the half-time hooter thanks to an innovative chip-and-chase.
South Africa built on this with more attractive attacking rugby in the second half, which saw wing Yaw Penxe cross the try-line after a strong run. Simelane followed as he scored the team's fifth try in a fine showing of fantastic inter-passing and support play to power their way to 31-7 lead.
Georgia struck back with a try by replacement back Giorgi Gogoladze, who touched down from a grubber kick, which they successfully converted to take their score to 14 points, but this was soon cancelled out by Libbok who gathered a stunning pass by centre Damian Willemse.
A yellow card for replacement flank Hendre Stassen in the dying minutes reduced the team to 14 men, and minutes later Zain Davids was red-carded, while the Georgians also received a yellow card. But despite sustained pressure by the hosts on the try-line, they were unable to add to their score.
For South Africa:
Tries: Augustus, Simelane 2, Libbok 2, Penxe
Cons: Cilliers 2, Bosch 2
Tries: Tabidze, Gogoladze
Cons: Aprasidze 2
Yellow cards: Guram Gogichashvili (Georgia, 49), Hendre Stassen (South Africa, 74), Tornike Jalagonia (Georgia, 81)
Red card: Zain Davids (South Africa, 81; head butting an opponent)
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)
Argentina 25-26 France
France took revenge for their 2016 defeat to Argentina, however, Los Pumitas managed to salvage a bonus point to keep their hopes alive of advancing to the play-offs.
The match had a very close first half - very even in general - in which both sets of defence worked well, better than the attacks. The Argentinian boys had more chances, spent more time in France's half but could not transfer that dominance of possession and territory into points.
France took an early 3-0 lead when Ntamack slotted a third-minute penalty.
Two missed penalty attempts in the 21st and 32nd minutes were compensated for in the 35th minute with a try by Juan Daireaux, who intercepted a ball in midfield, stepped past defenders and scored under the sticks.
Argentina held a narrow 7-3 lead at the break.
Daireaux grabbed a second soon after the restart to stretch Argentina's lead to 14-3 as he converted the effort. France launched their comeback from that point as a Ngandebe converted try narrowed the gap to 10-14 in the 52nd minute. Arrate added a 59th-minute penalty to trail by a solitary point.
France had the lead in the 64th minute when Boniface got over the line. Arrate failed with the conversion but France held an 18-14 lead.
However, Argentina retook the lead in the 67th minute as Oviedo worked his way over the try-line. The failed conversion attempt saw the South Americans hold a narrow 19-18 lead.
Arrate and Albornoz traded penalties to see the Argentinians remain ahead, 22-21 with six minutes to play. It seemed as though Argentina had the game in the bag in the 76th minute when Albornoz slotted a lengthy drop goal to stretch the lead to 25-21.
They failed to keep their discipline though as they were reduced to 14-men in the 79th minute and France took full advantage. France set up an attacking line-out, secured the ball and mauled their way over the line to bag the victory.
Tries: Daireaux 2, Oviedo
Cons: Carreras, Daireaux
Tries: Ngandebe, Mauvaka, Boniface
Pens: Arrate 2, Ntamack
Yellow cards: Alexandre Roumat (France, 20), Peato Mauvaka (France, 62), Agustín Medrano (Argentina, 79)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)
New Zealand 68-26 Italy
Once containing an energetic and robust Italian pack, the New Zealanders delivered a warning to fellow contenders that they were in Georgia on a distinct mission in a nine-try blitz.
The superior skills of the New Zealanders made light of the Italian forward effort and it was a demonstration of the depth of skills available to them when substitute back Tamati Tua received the ball on his own 22, only to weave his way through and around the Italian defence on a startling run in the 69th minute which resulted in a stunning individual try.
It was the most graphic example of the skill but it wasn't the only one. Along the way, a penalty landed by Tiaan Falcon - his third en route to scoring 19 points in the game - saw New Zealand become the first side to pass 2000 points in the competition.
Italy rocked the New Zealanders with an intercept try to fullback Simone Cornelli, who outstripped the defence on an 80-metre run to the line in the first minute of play.
New Zealand replied with two penalty goals landed by Falcon in the first eight minutes. When fullback Will Jordan took an Italian speculator and ran the ball back, he chipped the ball over the defence, regathered the ball and outpaced the Italian defence to score.
The Italians came back via their lineout maul which was used to good effect by their athletic pack for lock Niccoli Cannone to ground the ball at the base of the goalposts and with another conversion, they were back within a point.
The New Zealand response was immediate when left wing Caleb Clarke burst through in the midfield to link with centre Braydon Ennor. He then fed Orbyn Leger, who was able to run down the touchline to score New Zealand's second.
A lovely piece of ball control by Clarke in taking an Italian clearance on the sideline before sending a long pass to Jordan, who then gave right wing Jona Nareki a dream run into the corner to score four minutes later.
Cannone lost the ball in a tackle 32 minutes into the game and Ennor was able to grab the ball and have enough pace to run in New Zealand's fifth try. Just before the half-time break, the Italian maul was in action again and it was flank Michele Lamaro who scored Italy's third try.
Down 21-39, the Italians started the second half strongly on attack but the ball was turned over by flank Adrian Choat and Kemara Hauiti-Parapara took advantage to make a strong run towards the distant left-hand corner. When it seemed the cover had him in their sights, he reverse passed to Clarke who stormed over for his second.
Italy reverted to their lineout drive to apply pressure. In the bid to contain it, New Zealand were warned about taking the maul down and when it happened again it was captain Luke Jacobson who wore the wrath of the referee and was sin-binned.
That resulted in an inevitable try from the penalty with hooker Alberto Rollero scoring the side's bonus point try.
Ringing the changes with around 30 minutes remaining, New Zealand had to settle but when Jordan fielded another long Italian kick he linked with Nareki who fed Ennor. The centre took a superb outside gap then passed inside to prop Pouri Rakete-Stones who ran in a fine try.
With only Ireland to face in pool play, New Zealand is well-placed to make a strong bid to regain the world title.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Leger, Rakete-Stones, Nareki, Tua, Jordan, Choat, Clarke 2, Ennor
Cons: Leger 2, Falcon 5
Pens: Falcon 3
Tries: Rollero, Lamaro, Cannone, Cornelli
Cons: Di Marco 3
Yellow card: Luke Jacobson (New Zealand, 47; collapsing the maul)
Referee: Pablo Deluca (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Tasuku Kawahara (Japan), Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Ireland 23-32 Scotland
Scotland's ambition with ball in hand and infectious attacking style was rewarded with five tries. Having erased a 10-point deficit, tries from Ross McCann and Fraser Renwick had the Scots 12-10 ahead at half-time and further touchdowns from influential backs Darcy Graham, Connor Eastgate and Robbie Nairn guided them to a well-earned bonus point.
Ireland showed a lot of tenacity, particularly in the second half when they twice got it back to a two-point game and also cut the deficit to four points late on, but Jack Kelly's brace of tries - adding to Jack Stafford's earlier score - was not enough in the end.
Ireland's other 13 points were kicked by Conor Dean and Alan Tynan.
The Scots looked to stretch Ireland early on, winning Blair Kinghorn's kick-off and moving the ball at pace in a frenetic opening. They had the first sight of the try-line but No.8 Matt Fagerson dropped the ball in contact.
Kinghorn overcooked a subsequent penalty, kicking it dead, and although there were unforced errors from both sides, wing Kelly lifted Ireland with some excellent defensive play, getting to Eastgate's kick through and winning a penalty which moved his side up towards halfway.
Having got into the Scottish half, Ireland used the platform of a scrum to launch their backs with quick hands. Calvin Nash did well to keep the attack going and centre Gavin Mullin went close to scoring from a neat grubber kick with the ball unfortunately not sitting up for him.
An overthrown Scottish line-out allowed Malone's charges to keep the pressure on and after Ciaran Frawley was just held up on the right, Dean lobbed a 17th-minute penalty through the posts to punish his opposite number Eastgate who was caught offside.
Four minutes later, Ireland had their first try as quick thinking from Stafford saw force his way over from five metres out. His forwards had set up the opportunity with a couple of well-worked mauls and Dean converted for a sudden 10-point advantage.
Scotland struck back by the half-hour mark, though, as a classy counter attack - led by the Scotland Sevens-capped Graham from his own 22 via a brilliant offload from Stafford McDowall - saw centre McCann collect the wing's pass off the deck to scamper in by the posts. Eastgate's simple conversion closed the gap to three points.
The Scots held onto the momentum approaching the interval and Ireland captain Paul Boyle was warned about his side's discipline as they leaked successive penalties. Scotland turned down two kickable shots and those decisions eventually paid off, the stubborn Irish defence folding in the 39th minute as hooker Renwick scored from the back of a maul, 12-10.
Ireland restarted in promising fashion, an intercept in midfield by replacement Gavin Coombes launching the backs but Kelly was forced into touch. Yet, the Scots' quick-witted attack soon found holes again at the other end, with Eastgate's 47th-minute penalty duly extending their lead.
A powerful charge from hooker Ronan Kelleher got Ireland back on the move and into scoring range, a Scottish offside allowing Dean to make it a two-point game once more. However, Kinghorn capitalised on loose Irish kicking and poor follow-up defence to make a full 40 metres, and a quick recycle saw speedster Graham claim Scotland's third try of the afternoon, converted by Eastgate.
Ireland's resilience came to the fore yet again, former captain Kelly picking a great line to burst onto replacement Angus Curtis' inviting pass and evaded two defenders for a 57th minute try. Fullback Tynan took over the kicking duties, nailing the conversion to set up a fascinating final quarter a with Scotland holding a 22-20.
Scottish captain Callum Hunter-Hill popped up twice in another potent attack which teed up a five-pointer out wide for Eastgate with 61 minutes gone. Ireland hung in there at 27-23 thanks to a crisp penalty strike from Tynan.
Try number five arrived barely a minute later for the Scots, Nairn scoring after McCann drew the final defender to set up the Harlequins clubman. Eastgate missed the conversion but Scotland were within reach of their first win over Ireland in six Championship meetings.
Ireland showed plenty of character to hit back with their third try, making Scotland sweat in the final few minutes with their lead cut to four points. Jack Regan's 75th-minute turnover and a pacy break from fellow replacement Michael Silvester had the Scots scrambling back before Kelly showed good strength to reach over in the right corner via a Tynan offload.
The latter could not convert, however, and a last-minute knock-on from Caelan Doris as he attempted to take a quick tap brought Ireland's challenge to an end.
Tries: Kelly 2, Stafford
Cons: Dean, Tynan
Pens: Dean 2, Tynan
Tries: Nairn, Graham, McCann, Renwick, Eastgate
Cons: Eastgate 2
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Tasuku Kawahara (Japan), Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
England 34-22 Wales
The reigning champions led 24-10 at half-time with tries from Justin Clegg and Gabriel Ibitoye (two), while Malins converted all three as well a penalty. Wales scores came from Kieron Assiratti as well as five points from the boot of Dane Blacker and they narrowed the deficit soon after with a penalty try.
However, Mitchell settled England's nerves, also earning the extra point while Malins sent over a conversion and drop goal before Joe Goodchild's late try for Wales.
Wales made the stronger start to the game and but for a superb try-saving tackle under the posts from scrumhalf Harry Randall, England would have found themselves 0-7 down.
As it was a penalty for Wales followed soon after with another penalty from Dane Blacker after a collapsed scrum in front of the posts. England soon settled into the game and despite losing Zach Mercer to the blood bin, they had their first try of the game.
Ben Earl powered through Wales' defence and following a fine offload from Max Wright, Justin Clegg was able to cross. Ibitoye had England's second try and his third of the tournament, collecting Max Malins' superb pass to power over in the corner.
Ibitoye then scored a superb individual try in the corner after England kept the ball for 12 phases courtesy of carries from Mercer, Earl, Ralph Adam-Hale and Josh Bayliss. Wales' problems worsened losing Will Jones to the bin and Malins sent over the penalty for 24-3.
A floodlight failure delayed proceeding for 15 minutes and when the team returned to the field, Wales had their first try with Assiratti barging through with Robson's conversion taking the half-time score to 24-10.
Wales almost had a second shortly after the restart but were held up over the line and from the resulting scrum replacement Ollie Dawe was sent to the bin for 10 minutes after being penalised for collapsing it.
Another scrum followed and Wales were awarded a penalty try to take the score to 24-17.
England lost wing Sam Aspland-Robinson to injury while soon after Malins superbly intercepted a cross-kick to prevent a certain try. He missed a penalty soon after though as England were restored to 15 men and Mitchell earned the bonus point after collecting a chip and spinning out of a tackle to dot down.
Malins showed great composure to send over a drop goal with 10 minutes remaining however, Wales did not give up and Goodchild went over in the corner in what were the final points of the game.
Tries: Clegg, Ibitoye 2, Mitchell
Cons: Malins 4
Tries: Assiratti, Penalty try, Goodchild
Cons: Robson, penalty try does not require a conversion
Yellow cards: Will Jones (Wales, 33), Ollie Dawe (England, 47)
Referee: Pierre Brousset (France)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)
Australia 33-26 Samoa
Australia scored four tries to ensure the bonus point win, which gives the young men in gold nine points in the battle of Pool A against England, Wales and Samoa.
"I think we played our game plan for a small period of time in the match. Samoa were extremely good, they really wanted that game and they fought to the bitter end. For us as a team, part of our evolution is to become more process driven, we need to respect our processes and the team knows that.
"These guys will now become more intelligent in regard to their rugby brains out of today's clash. We will be better for the hit-out Samoa gave us, England will be a tough challenge but the boys are up for it," head coach, Simon Cron said.
The opening 10 minutes of the match saw Samoa take Australia on, not letting the men in gold hold onto the ball as they fought to establish an early advantage. The defence of Australia was resolute and turned back Samoa to create their own attacking opportunities.
Henry Hutchison was the beneficiary off the back of some individual brilliance of Liam McNamara to give the Aussies a 5-0 lead. Australia was able to extend their lead through the boot of Harry Nucifora in front of the posts when Samoa infringed at the breakdown to take an 8-0 lead.
Samoa continued to ask questions of Australia in defence and the consistent pressure that the Pacific Islanders built was eventually too much with Tanielu Tele'a crashing over in the corner to take the score to 7-8.
A lifting tackle by Australian captain, Hamish Stewart was deemed to be yellow card worthy, which reduced Australia to 14 men and allowed Samoa to take the lead, 10-8, for the first time in the match with a penalty.
The second half saw Samoa shoot out of the blocks as they took advantage of their extra man with a try to Pohla in the corner extending Samoa's lead to 15-8.
Australia struck back through Dylan Riley who changed his line perfectly to slice inside the Samoan cover defence to score underneath the posts and bring the scores level.
The Aussies continued to build pressure in the match with a dominant Australian scrum allowing replacement scrumhalf, Harrison Goddard to kick behind the defence for Semisi Tupou to re-gather and score.
Australia began to advance their lead as the backs combined well, with Liam McNamara dotting the ball down for Australia's fourth try off a brilliant inside ball from fellow Aussie Sevens flyer, Hutchison.
Samoa refused to go down without a fight and a try to Alexander Pohla, narrowed the gap as the Samoans worked hard to challenge the men in gold. Both sides traded penalties to advance the score to 30-23 but a penalty by Samoa brought the score within four points with just seconds remaining in the match.
Australia fought hard to maintain possession and a penalty for a shoulder charge allowed Harrison Goddard to slot a late penalty and secure victory.
Tries: McNamara, Riley, Tupou, Hutchison
Cons: Nucifora, Goddard
Pens: Nucifora, Goddard 2
Tries: Tele'a, Pohla-Murray 2
Pens: Ene 2, Paisami
Yellow card: Hamish Stewart (Australia, 34; tip tackle)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)