The Australian Under 20s fell 22-15 to Argentina in their fifth-place semi-final of the IRB Junior World Championship at Stade Henri Desgrange in La Roche-sur-Yon in France early this morning.
The loss pushes the Australians to the seventh-place playoff, where they will meet Ireland, in a bid to improve on last year’s overall finish of eighth. Ireland made their way to the match following a 9-8 loss to France earlier today.
Australian Under-20 captain Curtis Browning said he hoped his side could end the tournament on a positive note.
“I can't fault the effort of the boys once again, but we will work forward and hopefully finish the tournament on a good note,” Browning said.
“No one likes losing and to find ourselves back in the same play-off game as last year is pretty gutting, but hopefully we can finish off the tournament with a win.”
The Australian Under 20s have one win from four games at the tournament, following pool losses to Ireland, 19-15, and New Zealand 14-10, before beating Fiji 46-12.
The Australians opened the scoring against Argentina, with a try to Silatlou Latu and conversion to Luke Burton taking them to a 7-0 lead early in the first half.
The Argentines scored an early penalty goal to close the gap to 7-3, but pounced late in the half with a converted try to take a 10-7 lead into the break.
Argentina extended its lead to 17-7 early in the second, but a penalty goal to Burton and try to Pettowa Paraka closed the gap to 17-15 with 20 minutes left in the contest.
The Australians tried desperately to close the gap, but a try in the final 10 minutes sealed the match for Argentina.
The Australian Under 20s face Ireland in their seventh-place playoff on Monday 24 June at 12:00am (AEST).
All games of the IRB Junior World Championship are streamed live at www.irb.com.
Australia 15 – Argentina 22
Australia tries – Silatolu Latu, Pettowa Paraka.
Conversion - Burton.
Penalty goal – Burton.