The Junior Wallabies have started their World Championship campaign on a high defeating the Italian U20s 36-12 in Santa Fe, Argentina overnight.
Australia scored five tries to Italy’s two with flyhalf Will Harrison leading the scoring on 11 points in the bonus point victory, which was built on a strong defensive platform in similar vein to the team’s Oceania Championship triumph over New Zealand last month.
Australia currently sits on top of Pool B with five points, alongside Ireland who defeated England 42-26.
Junior Wallabies Captain Fraser McReight said: “Its always enjoyable getting out on the field, playing for both Australia and with your best mates.
“We were a bit disapointed to concede some late points but overall it was a positive start and we’re now looking forward to our next couple of matches and hope to continue to play our style of rugby.”
The Junior Wallabies will now take on Ireland in their second Pool B match on Saturday, June 8 at 11.30pm AEST.
Will Harris opened the scoring for the Aussies after an early break from Isaac Lucas to score under the posts in the early exchanges. A Will Harrison penalty goal extended the lead to 10-0 at the midway point in the half.
Then, on the back of a turnover, winger Mark Nawaqanitawase made a break out wide and found hooker Lachlan Lonergan in support to register the team’s second try, which was converted by Harrison to open up a 17-0 advantage at the break.
A powerful Australian offensive continued in the second half, with Triston Reilly crossing 15 minutes into the second half, extending the lead to 22-0.
It was at this point Gilmore ushered in changes, bringing Sione Tui on for Reilly while Nick Frost came on for Trevor Hosea, making his Junior Wallabies debut in the process. These reinforcements sparked an immediate change of pace, with Australia scoring back to back tries through Lonergan and Noah Lolesio to make it 36-0.
Joe Cotton’s yellow card with five minutes to play opened the door for the Italians to cross twice late in the contest, through Niccolo Taddia and Jacopo Trulla, but it was all too late with the Junior Wallabies running out 36-12 victors.
Junior Wallabies 36 (Lachlan Lonergan 2, Will Harris, Triston Reilly, Noah Lolesio tries; Will Harrison 4 cons; Will Harrison 1 pen) defeated Italy 12 (Niccolo Taddia, Jacopo Trulla tries; Giacomo Da Re 1 con)