Coach wants improvement after "unacceptable" U20s loss

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia U20s coach Adrian Thompson is demanding a much better effort from his side after an "unacceptable"  30-10 loss to New Zealand on Tuesday night.

After trailing by as few as three points midway through the second half before a yellow card and two more New Zealand tries put the result beyond doubt.

Thompson said the side received its just desserts after coughing one up too many errors and a psychological edge against New Zealand.

"We got what we deserved," he said.

"That’s unacceptable and we really need to turn around our attitude to playing these guys."

Thompson said he made it clear to his players that if they can't improve by Saturday's second match, they will not be on the plane to Manchester when World Championship selection rolls around.

"The execution wasn’t great  but we’ve been together for the same amount of time as the Kiwis and they made a lot of mistakes too .At the end of the day they covered theirs up and we didn’t do it well enough," he said.

"I mean there’s really only one and a half training days this week but that’s what the guys have got to get used to if they want to get selected  in the world champs and I’ve told them that.

"They’ve got to come back a lot better than that on Saturday or they’re not going."

Backrower Harley Fox and Mack Mason were two of the Aussie standouts in a gritty performance from the home side, as they battled to stay in touch with their trans-Tasman rivals.

New Zealand inside centre Jordie Barrett, younger brother of All Black Beauden, opened the scoring with a 7th minute penalty but it was New Zealand’s flyhalf Stephen Perofeta who made his influence most felt in the first 40 minutes, setting up winger Mason Emerson for the opening try.

That five-pointer threatened to open the game up for the Kiwis, who put a dangerous kick into space in the 17th minute, before a desperate Mason beat his opponent to the ball t diffuse the threat.

Australian fullback Jack Maddocks showed some pace in the opening minute but it was his kicking that proved to be most influential, though the 19-year-old’s execution was patchy.

It was his deft hands that set up Australia’s first try of the match, with a slick pass to Angus Scott-Young setting off a chain that ended in a Moses Sorovi try.

A pivotal turnover from backrower Fox and some desperate cover defence from inside centre Jackson-Hope stopped the Kiwis from running away with the match before the break.

Mason slotted a penalty in the 33rd minute to narrow the margin to five points, before Australia was caught in its own five after a knock on from the restart.Ryan McCauley tries to break the line. Photo: Sportography

The Australian front row pulled its weight in the ensuing scrums, though, winning one against the feed, in an impressive performance from the side’s forwards

Tries to Quinten Strange and Barrett were split by the Sorovi try, keeping the Aussies 10 points adrift with 27 minutes left.

A yellow card to tighthead Tyrel Lomax for a neck roll left Australia to battle one man down in the 62nd minute and New Zealand put pressure on immediately, ultimately adding a penalty to their tally.

A 77th minute try blew the margin out to 20 points and that's where it stayed.

Australia takes on New Zealand in the second match of the Oceania U20s series on Saturday May 7, at 4pm, streamed live on

Australia 10

(Tries: Sorovi Cons: Mason Pens: Mason)

New Zealand 30

(Tries: Emerson 2, Strange, Barrett Cons: Barrett Pens: Barrett 2)