Australia defeat Tonga 54-7 in opening JWC match

by staff

The Australian U20s have opened their IRB Junior World Championship campaign in style with a 54-7 defeat of Tonga at Stadio Mario Battaglini in Rovigo, Italy overnight.

Coach David Nuficora’s side raced away to a commanding 35-0 lead at half time and kept the pressure on the Tongans after the break to record an eight-tries-to-one victory.

Reds Academy halfback Matt Lucas opened the scoring in just the eighth minute and NSW Waratahs back Tom Kingston found the tryline three minutes later before lock Blake Enever, hooker Hugh Roach and winger Kimami Sitauti all crossed for first half tries.

Skipper Colby Faingaa was the first to score after the break, with flanker Jarrad Butler and centre Apo Latunipulu also finding the chalk.

Waratahs Academy playmaker Ben Volvavola had a top night with the boot, converting five from six attempts, while Lucas also added two conversions for a personal haul of nine points.

Faingaa said he was pleased his side was able to match the physicality of the Tongans up front.

“I’m very pleased with the win, the boys came out and there was a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm in the first half, we were up 35-0 at halftime and we were able to keep on the pressure,” Faingaa said.

“We haven’t had a lot of game time together but we had some good structure, we’ve got plenty of work on but it’s a good starting base for us.”

On Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), Australia play Fiji at Stadio Plebiscito, Padova.

In other pool matches, England had to battle hard to see off the challenge of a spirited Ireland side 33-25, New Zealand kicked off their quest for a fourth successive IRB Junior World Championship title by beating hosts Italy 64-7 before a sell-out crowd in Treviso, Wales recorded a 34-8 victory over Argentina in Padova, South Africa beat Scotland 33-0 and France were the only day one winners not to collect a bonus point after a 24-12 defeat of Fiji.

The Australian U20s squad features eight players who are returning for a second tilt at the JWC title, keen to reverse the disappointment of finishing runners-up to three-time champions New Zealand 62-17 in Argentina last year.

Prop Paul Alo-Emile, hooker Siliva Siliva, second rows Greg Peterson and Luke Jones, flankers Faingaa and Eddie Quirk and winger Sitauti all played in the final defeat, while Scott Sio is another from the 2010 squad who returns for a second shot at the title.

In the last three years, 26 Australian U20 representatives have gone on to earn Super Rugby contracts, and from that group, 13 have gone on to represent the Qantas Wallabies.

New Zealand has won all three titles and not dropped a match since the JWC replaced the IRB's former age-grade tournaments, the Under 19 and Under 21 Championships in 2008.

Fox Sports will telecast Australia’s third pool match against France LIVE on Fox Sports 1 at 4am AEST and the semi-finals (Fox Sports 2 from 2am AEST) and finals LIVE on Fox Sports 3 from 1am AEST.

The IRB will provide live streaming of 10 matches via .

Australia 54 (Matt Lucas, Tom Kingston, Blake Enever, Hugh Roach, Kimami Sitauti, Colby Faingaa, Jarrad Butler, Apo Latunipulu tries; Ben Volavola 5, Lucas 2 cons) def Tonga 3

Australia U20s (15-1): Rohan Saifoloi, Kimami Sitauti, Tom Kingston, Apo Latunipulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Ben Volavola, Matt Lucas, Eddie Quirk, Colby Faingaa ©, Jarrad Butler, Greg Peterson, Blake Enever, Paul Alo-Emile, Hugh Roach, Tim Metcher. Res: Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Luke Jones, Ted Postal, Ed Bredenhann, Simon Morahan, Bill Meakes.

Match Schedule/Telecast details

Pool Game 2

Tuesday 14th June – Australia v Fiji

Venue: Stadio Plebiscito, Padova

Kickoff: 6:10pm local / 2:10am (Wed) AEST

Not telecast

Pool Game 3

Saturday 18th June – Australia v France

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Kickoff: 20:10 local / 4:10am (Sun) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 1 – 4am

Semi Finals

Wednesday 22nd June, Treviso

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Semi 1 (2nd seed v 3rd seed): 18:00 local /2am (Thurs) AEST

Semi 2 (1st seed v 4th seed): 20:10 local/4.10am (Thurs) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 2 - 2am/ 4am

JWC Finals

Sunday 26th June

Venue: Stadio Plebiscito, Padova

3 v 4

Kickoff: 17:10 local / 1:10am (Mon) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 3 – 1am

1v 2

Kickoff: 19:10 local / 3:10am (Mon) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 3 – 3am