The Australian Under 20s have continued their excellent preparation for the IRB Junior World Championship with a 53-5 victory of the NSW Country Cockatoos in front of a passionate crowd at Chatswood Oval in Sydney’s North on Saturday night.
Australian Under 20s Head Coach, Adrian Thompson was impressed with the dominance of his side but expected further developments to occur in the coming days.
“It was great to get our third win for 2014 and I was impressed with our structure in the first half as we were confronted by a strong defensive line. We worked through those early challenges well and executed our game plan.
“The Cockatoos deserve credit for the way they played as they really tested us.
“There were a number of things we will be looking to improve on for our final trial match against the Australian Barbarians before we head to Auckland for the IRB Junior World Championship.”
The Australian Under 20s started the match well with some early territorial gains however Ill-discipline at the breakdown cost the young side precious possession and allowed NSW Country to march well within striking distance of the Australian line. Strong defence from the young side though repelled the Cockatoos’ phases of attack and allowed the Under 20s to clear well out of their own half.
A strong run from Australian Centre Jim Stewart brought the first try of the match as he powered through the rushing Country defence to break through the line and set up Lalakai Foketi for a try in the corner. The points were converted by Jake McIntyre taking the score to 7-0 in the 7th minute of the match.
NSW Country’s infringements at the breakdown gave the Australian Under 20s an opportunity to extend the lead moments later which McIntyre converted from 40 metres out to take the score to 10-0.
The Cockatoos worked tirelessly at the breakdown and were rewarded for their efforts with an opportunity to narrow down the deficit but the conversion opportunity was missed from right in front, giving the young Australian side a good opportunity to counter attack.
Camped on the NSW Country five metre line Australia used an impressive maul to suck in defenders and create an opportunity for more points. An offside ruling gave Australia the penalty and allowed the Under 20s to maul it from the back of a line out and score a traditional Forwards try in the corner with Ross Haylett-Petty crashing over.
Jake McIntyre converted from the corner to take the score to 17-0.
The remainder of the first half became a territorial battle as both sides attempted to control the flow of the match. Jake McIntyre was able to kick another penalty conversion as NSW Country again infringed at the breakdown taking Australia’s lead to 20-0.
NSW Country’s infringements at the breakdown eventually led to referee Will Houston giving a yellow card to replacement Hooker Steve Lamant, right on the cusp of half time.
The Australian Under 20s side used their numerical advantage to cross for a try right underneath the posts with Jim Stewart placing the ball down. With a successful conversion again from McIntyre making the score at half time 27-0.
The second half saw NSW Country fire out of the blocks as they looked to wrestle their way back into the match. Despite several attacking opportunities they were unable to cross early for a try as the Under 20s defence was able to stave off the early attacks.
Australian Winger, Jonny Vaux made a daring run off the back of some dominant work by the Australian Forwards at the breakdown to put his fellow winger, former Australian Schoolboy Andrew Kellaway over for a try in the corner.
Despite the Australian Under 20s dominance, the spirit of NSW Country could not be questioned as they continued to probe and attack the Australian line. For a good period of the second half they were locked in the Australian team’s 22 leading Australia to use increasingly desperate efforts to keep out the Cockatoos.
A yellow card for the Under 20s’ repeated infringements at the breakdown meant that Lolo Fakaosilea spent ten minutes in the sin bin allowing NSW Country to cross in the corner for a try.
It was to be the last bit of sustained attack by NSW Country as the Australian Under 20s exerted their dominance across the park to score three late tries through Halfback Angus Pulver, Fullback Jonah Placid and Outside Centre Jim Stewart.
The final score of 53-5 reflected the excellent preparation thus far by the Australian Under 20s Squad for the IRB Junior World Championship.
Australia will compete in the IRB Junior World Championship in June and have drawn Italy, England and Argentina in their pool.