Australia finishes sixth at U20s World Champs

Patrick Foulkes
by Patrick Foulkes

A second half blitz from New Zealand has relegated the Australia U20s to sixth place at the World U20s Championship.

With scores level at half-time, the Kiwis ran in 34 second-half points, finishing with eight tries to three, and a 55-24 victory in the fifth place playoff.

New Zealand had the first try of the match through Marino Mikaele Tu’u in the seventh minute, before Australia answered back through Campbell Magnay down the right flank to level the score at 7-all.

New Zealand then crossed for two tries, with forwards Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a and Quinten Strange crossing the chalk. Inside centre Jordy Barrett slotted both conversions giving New Zealand a 21-7 lead in the 22nd minute.

A barge over try for Faalelei Sione, which Nick Jooste converted, in the 29th minute narrowed the gap to 21-14.

New Zealand ran in eight tries to three. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia's scrum proved a weapon for them once again, with a penalty try evening scores up at the break.

Jooste opened up the scoring for the second-half with a penalty to put Australia ahead 24-21, before Barrett answered with a penalty of his own to once again level the score.

Reserve lock Isaia Walker-Leawere crossed for New Zealand’s fourth try in the 48th minute, which Barrett converted to give New Zealand a 31-24 lead.

The New Zealanders crossed for a further four tries before full-time, with reserve scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine scoring a runaway try in the 80th minute to secure the junior All Blacks the 55-24 win.

Australia U20s coach Adrian Thompson said his side would rue some missed opportunities.

“It’s a disappointing way to end the tournament," he said.

“We fought hard in the first half and got back into the game after trailing 21-7. But we didn’t match it with New Zealand in the second half," he said. 

“A number of calls went against us but we needed to react better throughout the game and make the most of our opportunities which we didn’t do.”

New Zealand 55 

(Tries Mikaele Tu’u, Moala-Liava’a, Strange, Walker-Leawere,  Aumua, Umaga-jensen, Tomkinson, Taumateriene; Cons: Barrett 6; Pens:Barrett)

Australia 24

(tries Magnay, Sione, Penalty Try Cons: Tuttle, N Jooste 2 Pens:  N Jooste)