Cron coming to terms with "nasty" loss to England U20s

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

Simon Cron used one word to describe his thoughts on the loss to England U20s - nasty.

It's an apt summation of the 20-19 loss, which left the Australian U20s coach, Aussie fans in the stands and those watching on from home feeling nauseous.

That's because it was a game that Australia should have, could have and would have won on another day.

They controlled the first half but couldn't capitalise on the 16-3 lead they held after 22 minutes, only taking a 16-10 break into half-time.

That inability to capitalise, along with some late ill-discipline and a poor decision to not have a shot at a drop goal deep in the English half after the final siren had gone, cost them the game.

"It was nasty, not good," a devastated Cron said.

"We put ourselves in a position to win it and we didn't - that's not what you want.


"I felt like we should have come away with more points (in the first half).

"We had some good line breaks, we opened them up but we didn't quite get across the line on a couple of occasions when we potentially could have."

While it was a missed opportunity, it was also one of the best performances by an Australian U20s team in recent memory.

They bettered the English at the breakdown and at set piece time and showed tremendous heart to stave off wave after wave of English attack in the second term.

The tournament favourites enjoyed 75 percent territory in the first 30 minutes of the second half and the large majority of that was in the Australian 22Reece Hewat led the Australians defensively. Photo: World Rugby/Levan VerdzeuliTo concede just one try in that patch was a show of just how hard this team worked through the entire 80 minutes.

"We did some really good things defensively and we created some opportunities," Cron said.

"But at the end of the day we put ourselves in a position to win and we should have won that.

"We should have won that and we didn't."

The entire starting XV looks to have a promising future in Australian rugby, such was the all-round nature of this performance.Jordan Uelese played a big part in Australia's standout front row. Photo: World Rugby/Levan VerdzeuliThe front row, comprising of Cody Walker, Jordan Uelese and Shambeckler Vui, dominated the scrum and consistently carried over the gain line.

The all-Queensland backrow of Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright and Reece Hewat controlled the breakdown, reaping turnovers at will and making several critical tackles.

Harrison Goddard was clutch off the tee and produced quick, clean ball for Hamish Stewart, who had his best game of the tournament.

Sione Tuipulotu and Izaia Perese are stars in the making and were probably the best two players on the ground.

"A number of guys on that field worked really hard and they gave all they could to win it," Cron said.

"They're devastated.

"The whole forward pack worked really hard around the ruck and the backs launched really well and set up some good phases.

"Across the park there were some really good performances."

The loss means Australia will miss the final four for the sixth straight year.

A fifth place playoff semi-final against Italy on Tuesday night at 9:30pm AEST awaits instead.