Oceania U20s Day One: Five things we learned

by Sam Phillips

The first two matches of the Oceania U20s went as expected, with New Zealand and Australia well in control throughout comfortable wins.

The Kiwis blitzed Fiji in the first half before taking their foot off the gas and the same could be said for the Aussies in their win against Samoa.

Through the eyes of the respective captains and Australia coach Simon Cron, here's what we learned from Day One.

1. Kiwis content but work to be done


New Zealand skipper Luke Jacobson was particularly pleased with his team's defensive effort.

"Really happy with the match actually - we managed to get some good points up there but to keep them try-less as well - we were really happy with that," he said.

2. Fijians far from the mark early on


Fiji captain Temo Mayanavanua is adamant his team will improve with time together and they will need to after a lacklustre opener against the Kiwis.

"The boys have just come back from Fiji Schoolboys and they were pretty new to the atmosphere," he said.

"Many of us also haven't played many afternoon matches and I think that's a major factor for us."

3. Aussies must lift to compete with Kiwis


Australian U20s captain Reece Hewat was impressed by the team's dominant scrum and lineout play but said their core skills must improve going forward.

"The rain doesn't help that but our skills can definitely pick up a bit," he said.

"Just the simple catch and pass and sticking to our structures but as I said, I think that will pick up."

4. Samoa smashed in set piece


Samoa U20s captain Ivan Fepuleai pointed straight to the set piece when asked what went wrong in his team's 43-20 loss.

"If we fixed up our set pieces the game would have been a lot more free flowing," he said.

"I think when we had the ball in hand we were deadly but full credit to Australia, they really brought it to us today."

5. Cron keeping a lid on it after scrappy opener


Cron was pleased with his team's defensive work but that was about it last night.

The conditions were probably as treacherous as you will find on Australian soil but as a Kiwi, Cron wasn't having that as an excuse for handling errors.

"It was our first game so we were always going to be a little bit rusty in learning structures and patterns," he said.

"But I feel like we probably went into our shell a little bit at times there and there were too many dropped balls for my liking.

"A little bit of rain is no excuse - the ball doesn't change - so I would rank us a 40 out of 100 which in terms of our processes, isn't that high."

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