Australia has scored five tries to claim a bonus point 34-22 win against Samoa in its opening clash of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy on Wednesday morning.
Fullback Jonah Placid scored two tries to guide the young Aussies to victory but it was Captain, Andrew Kellaway who sealed Samoa’s fate with a try late in the match to make Andrew the top try scorer at World Rugby U20s level with 11 tries.
Australia U20s Head Coach, Adrian Thompson was satisfied with the win:
“We always knew it was going to be a difficult challenge to win today.
“Samoa proved their quality at the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship last month and this was one of the games that caused us great concern.
“The lineouts and the breakdown needs improvement and we will be looking at this in the coming days before we take on Italy.”
Australian Captain Andrew Kellaway speaking to World Rugby:
“It was a bit scrappy but all in all it was a good win. We’ll go away and work on what we need to work on for the next game but all in all happy with the win.
“We really respected Samoa and certainly expected them to go the full 80.”
Australia’s next match is against Italy on Sunday 7th June at 4.30am AEST with the clash to be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 1.
Australia got off to the perfect start after a great run from fullback Jonah Placid, sliced through the Samoan defence.
The scrambling forwards from Samoa illegally flooded the breakdown allowing Australia’s Andrew Deegan to easily convert the penalty to bring the score to 3-0.
Australia continued to place pressure on Samoa and with a penalty given within kicking range, with flyhalf Deegan opting to kick for the corner to aim for the try.
The move allowed the Australian Forwards to get the first try of the match as flanker Michael Gunn dived over, taking the score to 8-0 in favour of the men in gold.
Samoa was able to counter with points of their own when they made their way into Australia’s half but twice Australia’s defence prevented Samoa from scoring an early try. Scrumhalf James Tuttle made a great covering tackle in the opening exchanges and Australia’s line defence repelled Samoa the second time.
Eventually flyhalf Josh Ioane took a conversion for an infringement from Australia for being offside taking the score to 8-3.
As the match moved past the first quarter mark, Australia’s dominant scrum placed pressure on Samoa with repeated penalties going Australia’s way.
With Samoa fortunate not to have a penalty try awarded against them, a quick off load from number eight Adam Korcyzk to Jonah Placid saw Australia’s fullback score the second try for the men in gold.
Deegan successfully converted to take the score to 15-3.
With five minutes to go in the first half Lukan Lealaiauloto-Tui was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous throw, leaving Australia to have to defend with 14 men.
It took Samoa seven minutes to be able to benefit from this man advantage with a try in the corner to Trent Winterstein. Josh Ioane missed the conversion to leave the score at 15-8 at halftime in favour of Australia.
The second half saw the re-emergence of the scrum battle between the two packs with the larger Australians smashing their Samoan counterparts.
The pressure was too much for Samoa with the referee sending their prop to the sin bin. With the men in gold bearing down on them Samoa could not hold out with Andrew Deegan adding to the score line with Australia’s third try taking the score to 20-8.
The second half became a see-sawing battle as Samoa was able to earn some possession and ask some questions of the Australian defence. A great defensive effort from Cameron Orr and James Tuttle repelled the Samoans on several occasions.
The pressure from Samoa continued to mount and eventually lead to a try through Captain Josh Dowsing who patiently waited at the back of the rolling maul before diving over. The successful conversion brought the score to 20-15 in favour of Australia.
Australia’s fourth try of the match came through Melbourne Rebels flier, Jonah Placid who again sliced his way through the Samoan defence to score to take Australia to 27.
Australia relaxed too early though and despite some great touchline defence from the men in gold, Samoa scored again to shorten the gap to five points.
In the 74th minute, Australian Captain, Andrew Kellaway broke the World Rugby record for most tries at U20s level and ensured Australia got its campaign off to a winning start with a try in the corner.
Andrew Deegan converted the most difficult kick of the day to take the score to 34-22.
A late charge by Samoa was thwarted and Australia held on to claim the match 34-22. Australia will take on host nation Italy in its second Pool B battle on Sunday morning.