A one-man disadvantage proved insurmountable for Australia as their U20s World Championship campaign started with a 15-10 loss to Scotland.
A 45th-minute red card to outside centre Campbell Magnay left Australia one man down for effectively the entire second half, making their challenge an instantly more difficult one.
Magnay was yellow-carded in just the sixth minute of the match after lifting Scotland flanker Matt Smith above horizontal in a tackle and a neck roll five minutes after half-time left officials with no choice but to send him off.
The Aussies made their sizeable weight advantage in the scrum count from the first set piece, earning a penalty from the opening contest.
Australia’s scrum domination was whittled away as the half went on and it was in fact a Scotland set piece penalty that yielded the first points of the match.
Australia avoided any extra punishment while a man down early and actually dominated possession and territory but errors stopped them from getting on top.
Ultimately the weight of possession spelled a try for Australia, with Izack Rodda crashing through the Scottish defence in the 25th minute.
Fullback Jack Maddocks diffused a Scotland chance just after half-time but Magnay’s red card opened up an opportunity for Scotland tighthead Zander Fagerson driving over for a 47th minute try.
Australia piled the pressure on despite being a man down, with flyhalf Mack Mason putting them back in the lead with a 56th minute.
Scotland snatched back the lead in the 64th minute, with Darcy Graham streaking through Australia’s defence for what was ultimately the match-winning try.
Australia looked back to their scrum to try and clinch a last-gasp victory, opting for repeat scrums deep in Scotland territory, rather than going for points.
It very nearly paid off, with Kennewell looking to score but his possible try was ruled out after he put his foot into touch.
Kennewell and his wing partner Liam McNamara were dangerous all afternoon, with just centimetres stopping Kennewell from scoring on two separate occasions.
While Australia’s U20s chances are not quite dashed, the men in gold know exactly how costly just one pool loss can be - they have lost just two matches in the past two tournaments, a record that has still left them with out of the semi finals.
Australia faces Italy on Saturday at 10:30pm AEST in a must-win match, LIIVE on FOXSPORTS 2.
(Tries: Rodda Cons: Mason 2 Pens: Mason)
(Tries: Fagerson, Graham Cons: Hastings Pens:Hastings)