A late drop goal to French flyhalf Thomas Laranjeira has broken the Australian Under 20s hearts in their fifth-place semi-final at the IRB Junior World Championship.
Leading 17-16 with seven minutes left in the fifth place semi-final, the Australian Under 20s looked as though they were set to reverse the result of their previous encounter with the French earlier in the tournament.
The Australians had toiled hard following disappointment in their last two outings, however fell short again after France’s replacement fly-half, Laranjeira, snatched victory with just minutes remaining.
The Australian Under 20s will now meet England in the IRB Junior World Championship seventh-place playoff this coming Saturday.
Kicking was the difference in the fifth place semi-final, with France’s Eric Escande successfully kicking three first half penalty goals to take his side to a 9-0 lead at half time.
The Australians had equal opportunity with the boot, however fly-half, Kyle Godwin, was unable to secure any points from the three attempts.
Australia jumped to a 10-9 lead early in the second half, following a try to Lindsay Crook, and a successful conversion, followed by a penalty goal to Matt Lucas.
The Australians led 17-16 late in the contest, after a converted tries to Australia’s Nick Frisby and France’s Jean Charles Fidinde.
With time running out, France’s Laranjeira attempted a drop goal, which proved successful, to take his side to a 19-17 lead and secure the win.
Australia and England will now meet in the seventh-place playoff at 12:30am (AEST) on Saturday 23 June.
In other games on the weekend, New Zealand defeated Wales 30-6, while South Africa beat Argentina 35-3 to advance to the tournament final.
New Zealand and South Africa will meet in the final at 2:45am (AEST) on Saturday 23 June.
The final will be shown live at 2:30am (AEST) on Saturday 23 June on Fox Sports 2HD and Fox Sports 2.
Australia 17 – France 19
Halftime: Australia 0 – France 9
Australia tries – Lindsay Crook, Nick Frisby
Australia conversions – Matt Lucas (2/2)
Australia penalty goals – Kyle Godwin (0/3), Lucas (1/1)
France tries – Jean Charles Fidinde
France conversions – Eric Escande (1/1)
France penalty goals – Escande (3/4)
France drop goals – Thomas Laranjeira (1/1)