Junior Wallabies claim third at 2011 JWC

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Australia have held out a fast finishing French side to claim third place at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Italy.

A last minute try to Simon Morahan, the brother of two-time Qantas Wallabies Spring Tourist Luke, confirmed the result after he showed similar footwork to his older brother to cross the chalk and confirm the 30-17 win.

Australia were knocked out of the title race on last Wednesday (Thursday AEST) by New Zealand, who last year also ended the Junior Wallabies hopes of an Under 20s crown.

Australian skipper and brother of 2010 Wallaby debutants Saia and Anthony Faingaa, Colby, said the result had certainly changed the feeling amongst the ‘Boys in Gold’.

“We were severely disappointed after the performance (against NZ),” he said.

“We knew we had it in us, but the last two games we weren’t able to string it together.”

“Its third place, but we’re very happy and the teams excited.”

Australia trailed for only 11 minutes after JP Barraque made it 3-0 in the third following early ill-discipline which saw Australia penalised within the No. 10’s range.

However, Waratahs youngster Tom Kingston crossed in the 11th and Ben Volavola converted to make it 7-3. It was only 8 minutes before brother of Reds fullback Ben Lucas, Matt, crossed the chalk and Volavola made it two from two to take the lead to 14-3.

The French bounced back five minutes later with a try to Geoffrey Palis, however a Volavola penalty in the 33rd minute ensured he and his side headed into the half time break with a seven-point buffer.

It was over half an hour before the scoreboard attendant was required again, with Australian flyhalf Volavola continuing his good form with the boot to send over two penalties within three minutes of each other and take the lead into double figures.

France set up an exciting finish however, after Julien Conne crossed out wide and closed the chase to within a converted try at 23-17.

However, after a Michael Hooper steal as France marched towards the line saw Volavola send it up field and a France chip-kick go wrong with Australia’s replacement halfback Eddie Bredenhann outjumping everyone to set up Morahan for the match winner.

Australia also ended a two-match losing streak with the 13-point victory, after falling at the final hurdle in the Pool stages against the same side.

Faingaa and his side were up against more than just their European counterparts, with the Italian summer turning on the heat for the fixture. A factor Faingaa added was certainly something tough to have had compete with.

“In the first half we really started well and we’re happy with that after having talked about doing that the whole tournament.”

“The first 40 was very hard, I’m not sure what the temperature was but it was stinking hot and even in the warm up... we were just sweating like crazy.

“It ended up cooling down in the second half, which was a positive for us.”

The Pool B loss was certainly still fresh in the mind of Faingaa and his squad, with the Brumbies flanker pleased his side were able to stay in control throughout the whole game after taking the lead in the 11th minute.

“We never took any part of the game lightly and we know France are a good team after last time we played them, when they came out really strongly and we were expecting that this time.

“I just think we handled it a lot better this time.”

Australia 30 (Kingston, Lucas, Morahan tries; Volavola 3 cons and 3 pens) bt France 17 (Palis, Conne tries; Doussain 1 con; Barraque 1 con and 1 pen)