Baby Boks meet defending champs England in semis
U20 CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND THREE WRAP: The Junior Springboks look in fine form for the play-off match against England, after they defeated Argentina 72-14 in Round three of the U20 Championship Cup in Georgia.
The Junior Boks scored 11 tries to top pool C, while France were in an unforgiven mood when they beat host Georgia 54-0 to occupy the second spot in the pool.
Coming in as the wildcard, France will face the inform New Zealand in the semifinals.
In pool B, New Zealand qualify for the semifinals and took revenge on Ireland who beat in the 2016 edition by beating them 69-3 in Georgia.
The Baby Blacks also scored 11 tries which includes hat-tricks by Caleb Clark and William Jordan.
In the other pool b fixture, Scotland fought off a late Italian comeback to record a hard-earned 17-16 victory and secure second place in the pool.
Pool A ended in dramatic fashion, as the reigning champions England were forced to dig deep to secure a 20-19 win against Australia and book a spot in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Wales scored four tries in each half to record their first pool victory with a comfortable 54-20 victory against Samoa.
Wales 54-20 Samoa
Captain Will Jones may not have got on the score sheet but he led superbly from the trenches and proved a thorn in the Samoan side from the outset. He was tenacious in defence and a real nuisance at the breakdown. As a result, Wales were often on the front foot, even though at times the game may have become a bit fractious and loose, before the floodgates opened
Wales freshened up their line-up for the match against Samoa which boasted six changes to the starting line-up which succumbed to England.
A new halfback pairing of Reuben Morgan-Williams and Ben Jones replaced Dane Blacker and Arwel Robson respectively while wing Joe Goodchild and full back Phil Jones took over from Ryan Conbeer and Will Talbot-Davies.
Up front hooker Owen Hughes got his first start of the tournament while lock Callum Bradbury was recalled from the bench.
Samoa coach - and former Scarlet - Mahonri Schwalger kept faith with the bulk of the players who caused Australia so many problems.
The three changes were all in the backs with Alexander Pohla, who scored twice against Australia, moved to the left wing to accommodate the return of Ricky Pauli Ene at full-back with Godinet Tinei given the number nine jersey.
The opening exchanges saw Samoa test Wales' defence, particularly when centre Hunter Paisami intercepted a Ben Jones pass on halfway to streak clear. However Owen Lane hunted him down five metres from the try-line to avert the danger.
Two penalties by full back Ricky Pauli Ene gave Samoa a 6-0 lead after nine minutes, but when Jared Rosser cruised home after a withering counter-attack, it was all Wales for the rest of the first half.
Aled Ward, who had a strong game at the back of another dominant Wales scrum, powered over from close range before powerful flank Shane Lewis-Hughes surged over after Rhys Carre and Ioan Nicholas were brought down inches from the try-line.
Right on the stroke of halftime Wales gained a bonus point for scoring their fourth try through second row Sean Moore who the beneficiary of a well worked lineout. With fly half Ben Jones landing four conversions from four attempts, Wales were in control 28-6 at the break.
Lewis-Hughes plundered his second try of the game after Morgan-Williams dashed down the blindside. The supporting flank picked up the ball and there was no stopping him from close range.
Wales were caught napping in the 57th minute when Samoa spread the ball quickly through the backs. Wing Alexander Pohla evaded Phil Jones and Lane down the touchline to dive over in the corner. Ene's touchline conversion put Samoa into double figures but still 20 points behind.
The South Sea Islanders chiselled away at the lead with a converted try to Setu Enoka as Wales suddenly found themselves on the defensive.
Wales got on the front foot with captain Will Jones pilfering a turnover and Ellis Shipp bursting clear from a ruck and off-loading to Dane Blacker who scampered home. Arwel Robson's conversion put Wales 40-20 in front.
Blacker's quick thinking from a penalty gifted lock Will Griffiths a try under the posts as the Samoans wilted under the onslaught. Robson converted.
Joe Goodfield delivered the last rites right on the final whistle when he cantered over out wide with Robson putting the icing on the cake with a well struck conversion from the touchline.
Tries: Rosser, Ward, Lewis-Hughes 2, Moore, Blacker, Griffiths, Goodchild
Cons: Jones 4, Robson 3
Tries: Pohla, Enoka
Cons: Ene 2
Pens: Ene 2
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)
England 20-19 Australia
Australia went into the break with a six-point lead following a converted Sione Tuipulotu try and eight points from the boot of Harrison Goddard.
Gabriel Ibitoye scored his fifth try of the tournament which Max Malins converted while Theo Brophy Clews also sent over a penalty for England.
Marcus Street bundled over and Malins' conversion put England in front, however, Harry Nucifora kicked a penalty for 19-17. However, Malins' penalty with two minutes left won the game.
England trailed at the break, with Australia holding a six-point advantage going into half-time.
An early collapsed scrum saw Australia get their first points of the game from the boot of Goddard, however, England levelled the game with a penalty from Brophy Clews after a late tackle on Malins.
Australia then had a period of sustained pressure which saw them race into a 16-3 lead following a converted try by Tuipulotu who was on the end of several fine offloads.
Goddard converted that and two further penalties before a moment of magic got England back in the game.
England finally managed to string several phases of play together and the ball eventually found Ibitoye on the wing.
The Harlequins player managed to dot down courtesy of a superb diving-one handed try in the corner which Malins converted for 10-16.
Australia missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time as a breathless half of rugby came to an end.
England had their noses in front for the first time in the game 10 minutes into the second half after Street bundled over off the back of a line-out and Malins' conversion gave them a one-point lead.
Further chances to increase that lead followed but despite being camped on Australia's try line the score remained at 17-16.
Australia came back into the game and Nucifora missed a penalty to put them in front on 68 minutes, however he made no mistake with nine minutes left to give his side a 19-17 lead with a penalty moments later.
Harry Johnson-Holmes was sent to the sin with two minutes remaining giving Malins a penalty in front of the posts which he nailed and despite late pressure England held on for the the one-point win.
Tries: Ibitoye, Street
Pens: Brophy Clews, Malins
Pens:Goddard 3, Nucifora
Yellow Card: Johnson-Holmes (Australia, 78)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)
Scotland 17-16 Italy
Scotland scored three tries through Robbie Nairn, Luke Crosbie and Tom Dodd, with Connor Eastgate’s sole conversion proving crucial come the final whistle.
The opposition were only able to cross the whitewash on one occasion through centre Marco Zanon, yet a fine kicking display from stand-off Antonio Rizzi kept Italy in the game throughout.
The Dark Blues started the stronger of the sides and looked energetic in the opening exchanges.
Making amends for a missed opportunity in the opening minutes, Robbie Nairn opened the scoring with a sensational try in the corner in which he displayed guile, power and pace to finish.
Italy fired back with a well-worked try from centre Marco Zanon, with Rizzi’s conversion giving the Azzurri the lead 7-5.
Eastgate turned down the option of a kickable penalty on the 14 minute mark, and the risk paid-off with a try. Scotland went to their driving maul – a key feature to their success in the tournament – and following a few phases, Crosbie sniped over through the centre of the ruck to regain the lead for his side 10-7
Stand-off Eastgate slotted the conversion, yet was unable to add three points with another shot at goal on 22 minutes.
Excellent scramble defence from Blair Kinghorn stopped an almost certain try shortly after, with the TMO judging the fullback had managed to get under the ball before Italy’s livewire wing Giovanni D'Onofrio touched down in the corner.
Italy did, however, have the last say of the half with Rizzi kiking a 36th minute penalty to close the gap to trial with just two points at the interval.
And the Italians continued to build on their momentum in the second-half with the only points of the third quarter coming through the boot of Rizzi, who slotted a further two penalties to give his side a 16-12 lead.
Scotland showed their character and put a rough patch behind them when back-row Dodd touched down following another well-worked driving maul. Replacement Josh Henderson was unable to add the extras, but Dodd’s score gave his side a 17-16 lead going into the final 10 miuntes.
It was a grandstand finish. Italy continued to fire shots at the Scotland line, yet the defence stayed resilient and kept them out on a number of occasions, most notably when Nairn bundled his opposite number into touch on approach to the line.
Tries:Nairn, Crosbie, Dodd
Con: Nairn, Crosbie, Dodd
Pens: Rizzi 3
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Ireland 3-69 New Zealand
Ireland made a powerful start, cashing in on All Blacks centre Orbyn Leger's dropping of the kick to start the game. A superb Irish scrum put the pressure on New Zealand and it took some desperate defence to hold Ireland out and they were luck to concede only a penalty goal.
In the 10th minute the New Zealanders replied when from a lineout, blindside wing Clarke burst in to take the ball on the move at first receiver. He ran around the back of the lineout and then headed back towards the sideline to run round the Irish defender to score a superb solo try.
Some untidy play and lack of control from both sides preceded New Zealand's second try when from a ruck flyhalf Tiaan Falcon sent a long pass to his centre Braydon Ennor who took an outside gap at speed, to feed fullback William Jordan in for the try.
Ennor had his reward in the 21st minute when scrumhalf Ereatara Enari ran the blindside and fed Leger who ran down the right wing and drew the defence before feeding Ennor who had a clear run to the line.
Two minutes later, building on a strong midfield drive by powerful hooker Asafo Aumua, the ball was released to the backs. Falcon fed on the inside to Leger, who passed over the top to Ennor who got the ball to Jordan who out-paced the defence on a 35m run to the line.
There was no relief for Ireland after the break as after only two minutes flank Tom Christie peeled off the back of a lineout maul to score then almost from the restart, Auvua charged down the middle of the field in a powerful surge before slipping the ball to Enari for the try.
But the tackling toll as Ireland mounted long periods either side of half-time in the New Zealand 22m, at one stage New Zealand were making tackles at a ratio of 3:1. Then the referee lost patience with the New Zealanders and in the 53rd minute he sin-binned lock Isaia Walker-Leawere for entering a maul on the side, then four minutes later after a warning his locking partner Sam Caird joined him in the sin-bin.
Being reduced to 13 men didn't halt the flow of tries, however, as some more smart passing created a chance which Clarke took advantage of to score his third try in the 60th minute.
It became a rout as replacement wing Josh McKay came on and at his first chance he scored before Falcon stepped through the defence to score a try. He wasn't as successful with his goal-kicking in landing only five conversions
For New Zealand:
Tries: Clarke 3,Jordan 2,Ennor,Christie, Enari,McKay,Falcon
Cons: Falcon 5
Yellow card: Isaia Walker-Leawere (New Zealand, 53 - side entry into the maul)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Sout Africa 72-14 Argentina
The Junior Springboks produced a solid all-round performance to outplay Argentina, with hooker Johan Grobbelaar and wing Gianni Lombard each crossing the tryline twice.
Grobbelaar opened up the scoring with two tries in four minutes, first from a rolling maul and then a stolen lineout, to push the side 12-0 ahead in the opening 10 minutes.
Argentina struck back with a try from a pick-and-go minutes later, and this was followed by Junior Bok centre Wandisile Simelane receiving a yellow card for tripping a player.
This, however, did not affect the Junior Boks’ rhythm as wing Gianni Lombard received a smart pass from centre Damian Willemse to score the team’s third try, while back-to-back tries by Willemse and wing Yaw Penxe shortly before the break compliments of good handling skills and innovative play, saw the team inflate their score to 31 points.
Argentina were only able to add one try in the second quarter by wing and captain Tomas Malanos, who took advantage of an overlap out wide, which saw them trail 31-14 at the break.
Los Pumitas were dealt a blow in the opening seconds of the second half with Franco Molina being sin-binned, and the Junior Boks capitalised on this with No.8 Juarno Augustus crossing the tryline.
Chean Roux’s team continued to run riot as Bosch added a penalty goal, while Lombard, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, and replacement backs Francois de Villiers and Jeanluc Cilliers added further tries in a rewarding second half to finish the match with an impressive 11 tries and a memorable 72-14 victory.
"We treated this match as a quarter-final and the players responded very well," said Junior Boks head coach Roux.
"All credit must go to them. I think they delivered a fantastic performance. But we have achieved nothing yet. We have already started with the planning for the next game, with the opposition depending on what happens between Australia and England,"
Asked if the victory gave the team confidence with the semifinal in mind, Roux said: "I think so. The players have worked hard. But this means nothing if we do not win the next match,"
For South Africa:
Tries:Grobbelaar 2, Lombard 2, Willemse, Penxe, Augustus, Papier, Libbok, De Villiers, Cilliers
Cons: Bosch 7
Cons: Albornoz 2
Yellow cards: Wandisile Simelane (South Africa, 14) Franco Molina (Argentina, 40), Tomás Malanos (Argentina, 78)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Tom Foley (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)
France 54-0 Georgia
French flair made sure that the final pool c game was a one-sided affair as they outplay Georgia in front of the home crowd.
France got off to a flyer and took an early lead just after two minutes of play courtesy of Baptiste Couillloud. Flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert made no mistake to add the extras and hand the side a 7-0 lead.
Soon Georgia's trouble grew, as prop Levan Papidze had to be replaced after he sustained an injury, with a man down Georgia proved vulnerable and conceded another try this time France prop Ugo Boniface powered over the line for the converted try after six minutes of play.
France continued to dominate possession and territory. And before the break, the French secured the bonus point by adding two additional converted tries to take them to a 28-0 lead.
Georgia came out with full intent at the break. They introduced some fresh legs and enjoyed some possession, but failed to threatened France's redzone.
Fatigue started to creep in and soon the French took hold of proceedings as centre Decron scored the first try of the second-half.
Decron's try seemed to ignite the French side and proved to be the last knockout blow for the Georgia side.
With 30 minutes left on the clock and the game already done and dusted, France went onto to three unanswered tries and cruised to a 54-0.
Tries:Couilloud, Mauvaka, Boniface, Jalibert, Decron, Tolofua, Roumat, Pesenti
Cons: Jalibert 6, Arrate
For Georgia: 0
Referee: Pali De Luca (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)