Scotland break Australian hearts again

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

Scotland have broken Australian hearts for the second time in as many days, scoring a try after the siren to beat the Australian U20s 24-17 in the fifth place playoff.

Scotland reserve halfback Charlie Shiel scored a double but it was his controversial try late that will be the talking point.

Angus Scott-Young was clearly held at the scrum from which Shiel scooted through a hole to score but both the TMO and referee Jamie Nutbrown said the obstruction was minimal.

It was a hefty price to pay for some dumb late game management from the Australians.

They refused to clear the ball from their own half despite putting together two terrific goal line stands in the final 10 minutes.

That provided the opportunity for Shiel's try and it would have been tough viewing for coach Simon Cron.Reece Hewat trucked the ball up all afternoon for Australia. Photo: World Rugby/Levan VerdzeuliThere was a strong wind at the backs of the Australians in the first term but the halves failed to take advantage of it like the Scots did and that proved the difference.

The Aussies barely touched the ball in the Scottish half in the second 40, as flyhalf Connor Eastgate repeatedly used his left boot to pin the Australians in their half.

That was followed by a blunt, yet effective attack which the Australians could not halt.

It was all about the Izaia Perese show against Italy but it was the work of the Australian forwards which shone brightly on Sunday.

Liam Wright nabbed four pilfers in a dynamic performance, Reece Hewat led the defensive charge alongside Jordan Uelese and Harry Hockings provided go forward while commanding the lineout.

The front row has been stellar all tournament and it was similarly strong today, making an impact at the scrum in an opening quarter which neither side dominated.Scotland controlled the second term. Photo: World Rugby/Levan VerdzeuliThe only department in which one team got the upper hand was the scrum, where the Australians applied severe pressure on Scottish ball.

The first Scottish scrum was a tighthead win for the Aussies and Shambeckler Vui followed that up with a pair of big shoves that quickly changed the way the Scots approached the game.

Eastgate was pressured into unnecessary kicks that turned into clean ball for the Australian back three but a sense of deja vu was present when the Scottish defence hold firm.

The Scots missed just four of their attempted 62 tackles in the first term but that was as much to do with the Australian attack.

The ball playing of Hamish Stewart was too deep at flyhalf and the Scots weren't missing simple first up tackles.

That changed at the 24 minute mark, as a powerful, leg pumping Perese run put the Aussies on the front foot and the attack was immediately more direct.

Darcy Graham was a constant threat for the Scots. Photo: World Rugby/Levan VerdzeuliThat opened up a hole at the fringe of a breakdown on the Scottish line and Goddard snuck over for the first points of the afternoon.

The halfback added a penalty three minutes later to open up a 10-0 lead but Eastgate brought the lead back to 10-3 with a penalty of his own as the teams headed for the sheds.

Scotland levelled the scores eight minutes into the second term when Semisi Tupou dropped an intercept, allowing Blair Kinghorn to streak away and offload to Robbie Nairn for the five pointer.

The Scots continued to dominate territory and some big runs from their pack put them over the gain line and eventually, Shiel stretched out to give the Scots a 17-10 lead.

All the momentum was with the Scots at that point but a high ball contest fortuitously fell in the arms of an unmarked Goddard, who sprinted 50 metres and kicked a beautiful conversion to level the scores with 20 to play.

The final 10 minutes was edge of the seat viewing but the Australians offset two terrific goal line stands when Shiel scooted over for the match winner.


Australia U20s 17

Tries: Goddard 2

Cons: Goddard 2

Pens: Goddard

Scotland U20s 24

Tries: Nairn, Shiel 2

Cons: Eastgate 3

Pens: Eastgate