Cron "very happy" with Aussie U20s defence in opener

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

When you consider Simon Cron's scathing reviews of his team's performances at the Oceania Championship, it's fair to say he was relatively pleased with the 24-17 win against Wales U20s.

Cron is a tough taskmaster that expects nothing but the very best and his players responded in their World Rugby U20s Championship opener.

The Australian attack is yet to hit top gear but the defensive work - particularly in the last 20 minutes - was exemplary.

"I was very happy with the defence," Cron said.The Australian defence handled everything Wales threw at it. Photo: World Rugby/Lasha Kuprashvili"I thought we shaped quite well.

"We had a couple of issues on the outside at one stage but overall, I thought it was pretty good."

The halves pairing of Harrison Goddard and Hamish Stewart didn't flourish as Cron would have liked but that was to be expected, considering their shortage of game time together.

"I think they're still evolving as a combo," Cron said.

"They got quick ruck speed when they needed it and Hamish was probably building into his game.Cron was complimentary of the Sevens players in their return to the 15-man game. The Australian defence handled everything Wales threw at it. Photo: World Rugby/Lasha Kuprashvili"It's his first game with the squad and that backline and I think together they should only get better."

Attention now shifts to Samoa - a team Australia easily accounted for at the Oceania Championship.

They meet on Sunday night and Cron eliminated any thought that the Australians would take their Pacific rival lightly.

"They're extremely strong, very physical and have quick line speed," he said.

"They'll be much better out wide and we will have to get better to be able to push them."

Simon Kennewell will have to pass a fitness test on his hamstring to feature in that match, though the injury isn't thought to be too serious.