Aussies U20s win but Cron wants more

by Sam Phillips

The Australian U20s scrapped their way to a 43-20 win against Samoa on Friday night but it was a performance that left head coach Simon Cron far from pleased.

Cron is the type of coach that refuses to accept anything but the best from his troops and that was not what he got from the Australians.

He hit the nail on the head when he labelled it a "40 out of 100" performance as the second half left plenty to be desired.

"It was the first game, so we were always going to be a little bit rusty in terms of learning structures and patterns but I felt there was a little bit too much drop ball for my liking," he said.

"A little bit of rain is no excuse - the ball is still the same."

The second half was of particular concern.

Cron ran all of his reserves on and there was too much drop ball as players tried to piece combinations together while also pushing for a plane ticket to Georgia.

"We did transition all our finishers on and give them a chance to play and an opportunity but I feel like the last 20 minutes turned into a bit of a high school trial," he said.

"Guys were trying to carry rather than play pattern and it became a bit individual rather than team and I made that pretty clear in the sheds."

The Australian set piece was dominant but again, Cron thought that was more a case of the Samoans scrum suffering serious problems.

"Our lineouts were really good, although I wasn't happy in the second half where we were five or ten metres out and they went over the top - that's not good enough," he said.

"Scrum, our scrum was dominant but I'd probably question how strong theirs was, to be fair, so we've got to be better."

Despite Cron's comments, there were several players that starred for the Aussies.

Angus Scott-Young was best on ground and dominated the first 40 minutes.

He consistently carried over the gain line, hit hard in defence and scored a try through sheer determination, just as he did for QLD throughout the Super U20s.

Reece Hewat has hit top gear after easing back into rugby following a 16-month stint on the sidelines through injury.

Cron was particularly impressed with his defensive work and he attacks breakdowns with vigorous intent.

"Defensively I was actually relatively happy for the first go," Simon Cron.

"We've only shown them some defensive shape this week and I thought overall our line speed wasn't too bad, the contact zone was okay chop tackle wise and it's just a couple of guys that have bad habits.

"It only takes three guys to have a bad habit of trying to tackle around the shoulders and they get over the gain line.

"That was quite evident and the boys will see that in review tomorrow."

Jayden Ngamanu continues to impress at fullback.

He glides across the ground with every touch and always creates opportunities for others by finding holes in the defensive line like a heat-seeking missile.

Ryan Lonergan and Nick Jooste were good in the halves without being great but the front row of Harry Johnson-Holmes, Efi Maafu and Harry Chapman were all in fine form.


2017 Oceania U20s Championship

Australia 43

Tries: Ramm, Ikatau, Lonergan, Johnson-Holmes, Scott-Young, Hewat, Maafu

Cons: Lonergan 4

Pens: 0

Samoa 20



Cons: 2

Table after Round One

1. New Zealand 5 (+60)

2. Australia 5 (+23)

3. Samoa 0 (-23)

4. Fiji 0 (-60)