The Junior Wallabies have won the Fifth Place Final of the World Rugby U20s Championship on Sunday night, defeating Argentina U20s 41-15 at the Stade De La Mediterranee, Béziers.
Australia scored five tries to two as the young men in gold secured Fifth Place from the Championship in the battle for rankings for the 2019 tournament.
Junior Wallabies Captain Ryan Lonergan said: “We had to work for that win. We knew Argentina were going to be a good team.
“Their loss against Italy, really wasn’t them and the score doesn’t reflect how tough the match was with those few late tries.
“I think the start of the game was really promising but we didn’t really convert the pressure into as many points as we would have liked.
“Towards the end of the second half we just got caught trying to play their game with some risky offloads. We wanted to go back to what we know, there are times to throw the ball around but that wasn’t it.
“It was a tough game and the guys did very well to get the win.”
Australia dominated the opening exchanges of the match with strong possession and territory as they tested Los Pumas’ defence. Harry Hockings crossed for the first try and a just reward for the time Australia had spent in Argentina’s 22.
The Junior Los Pumas struck back with a brilliant try to winger Mateo Carreras Joaquin who caught the ball on the fly from a penalty to level the scores at 7-7.
As the match passed through the twenty-minute mark, the young men in gold continued to dominate Argentina, amassing a significant amount of possession. Australia’s tireless hooker, Efi Ma’afu scored the second try, as he powered his way through several tackles to score near the posts.
Argentina fought their way back into the match, with a passionate display from the Los Pumas forwards making for an intense contest between both packs. Argentina couldn’t keep their discipline, allowing Ryan Lonergan to extend the lead to ten points (17-7).
The second half saw both kickers trade penalties moving the score to 20-10, with Argentina showing significant intent for the second stanza.
The Junior Los Pumas were reduced to 14 men when scrumhalf Manuel Nogues was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock down. The Junior Wallabies continued to apply the pressure, scoring the third try through Tom Ross; the Australian forwards bashing their way through Argentina once again.
Argentina was able to score its first try of the second half in the 71st minute, off the back off a rolling maul to lower the gap to 27-15 for the South Americans.
In the 77th Australia created a solid passage of play set up by replacement scrumhalf Tate McDermott with the Australian backs moving the ball quickly to a barnstorming Mack Hansen who sliced through the cover defence to score.
The Junior Wallabies would cross again in extra time as Australia’s cut Argentina’s defence to pieces with Isaac Lucas scoring Australia’s final try of 2018. Harry Hockings, who after three years in the program has played his last match for the Junior Wallabies scored the last conversion to take the scoreline to 41-15.
The 2018-2019 U20s season will commence later in the year with the U19s Rugby Championship (URC) ahead of the Oceania U20s Championship next April.
How it happened:
9 mins: Harrison Hockings try, Ryan Lonergan con AUS 7-0 ARG
14 mins: Mateo Carreras try, Joaquin De La Vega Mendia con AUS 7-7 ARG
21 mins: Efi Ma’afu try, Ryan Lonergan con AUS 14-7 ARG
27 mins: Ryan Lonergan pen, AUS 17-7 ARG
47 mins: Joaquin De La Vega Mendia pen AUS 17-10 ARG
52 mins: Ryan Lonergan pen AUS 20-10 ARG
57 mins: Tom Ross try, Will Harrison con AUS 27-10 ARG
71 mins: Santiago Grondona try AUS 27-15 ARG
77 mins: Mack Hansen try, Will Harrison con AUS 34-15 ARG
81 mins: Isaac Lucas try, Harry Hockings con AUS 41-15 ARG