South Africa has completely outplayed the Australian U20s to win 13-46 in the final round match of Pool B at the World Rugby U20 Championships on Thursday morning.
The result means that Australia is unable to progress to the semi-finals of the competition and will battle it out in the 5-8 playoffs for rankings for the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship.
Australian U20s coach Adrian Thompson said:
“Full credit to South Africa for the way they played today. We certainly went into this match with confidence but a dominant South African forward pack prevented us from building any consistent momentum.
“Defensively South Africa constantly asked questions of us for the full 80 minutes and this cost us.
“We’ll regroup from the disappointment of missing out on the semi-finals and look towards our next challenge.”
Australia will next play Scotland on Tuesday 16th June at 12.30am AEST.
A defensive lapse from Australia proved to be costly in the opening five minutes as South Africa used their powerful scrum to gain excellent field position. Jacques Vermeulen ran a great line to cut through the defence to score next to the posts. The successful conversion by Brandon Thompson took the score 0-7.
With little to show from the opening stanzas Australia finally was able to gain some possession with the Australian backs slicing through South Africa’s defence to escape their own defensive zone. Duncan Paia’aua and Andrew Kellaway combined well to create this space. South Africa infringed at the breakdown within kicking range and flyhalf Andrew Deegan converted to take the score to 3-7.
South Africa continued to keep the score advancing with Thompson converting a penalty when Australia didn’t roll away to take the score to 3-10.
The dominance of South Africa’s forwards continued to reap dividends with South Africa’s second try coming from forward play from the base of the ruck with Ox Nche diving over the line to score.
Thompson continued his perfect form with the boot to take the score to 3-17.
South Africa continued to place pressure on Australia as they remained within the young Aussie sides defensive zone for over ten minutes, with only desperate defence from Australia holding out the Junior Boks on several occasions.
Without being able to cross the young men in gold’s tryline during this period South African flyhalf Brandon Thompson gave his side points through his boot after a scrum penalty taking the score to 3-20.
Despite a late charge by Australia as they escaped their own half, asking some questions of South Africa, it kept the score at 3-20 at half time.
Australia started the second half in a commanding territorial position but were unable to put the foot down and score the try. A turn over to South Africa eventually allowed the Junior Boks’ Khanyo Ngcukana to score to take the score to 3-27.
As the pressure mounted the referee sent Australia’s prop, Cameron Orr to the sin bin as South Africa’s strong scrum continued to show its class.
Being reduced to 14 men created defensive issues for the young men in gold and this pressure proved to be too much as South African flyhalf, Brandon Thompson cut inside the Australian defence to score. Converting his own try, Thompson took the score to 3-34.
Jason Jenkins scored again for South Africa as the tiring Australian defence was unable to repel a confident South Africa.
Australia was finally able to register some reward for their efforts with a try. Wave after wave of Australia attackers pounded South Africa’s tryline with Duncan Paia’aua eventually able to navigate the traffic and crash over. This brought the score to 8-39.
Leolin Zas showed what a young talent he is when he gassed through the Australian defence to score taking the score to 46-8.
A late surge by Australia with South Africa having two men in the sin bin allowed captain Andrew Kellaway to score a consolation try, but it was not to be with the score finishing at 13-46.
Australia’s next challenge is Scotland in the 5-8 semi-finals on Tuesday.