Junior Wallabies flog Fiji in Oceania U20s opener

by Sam Phillips

The Junior Wallabies have stormed to a sizzling win in their Oceania U20s opener, breezing past Fiji 51-5.

Australia looked every bit a well-oiled machine in the first term, putting Fijian defenders away with big hits before unleashing an attack which will produce plenty of points this year.

The forward pack, through star No. 8 Patrick Tafa, hooker Efi Maafu and blindside Esei Haangana, carved the Fijian pack up through the middle of the field and that allowed Australia's backs to flourish.

Tate McDermott and Lawson Creighton look to have built a slick combination in the halves already, Len Ikitau starred at outside centre and Mack Hansen proved very hard to stop with his slinking runs in broken play.

Tate McDermott starred for the Australians. Photo: SportographySome huge hits from both sides opened the match in style but it was the Australians that drew first blood, some pinpoint passing from McDermott and Creighton putting Matt McTaggart away, Tom Ross dotting down after the Aussie Sevens flyer drew the final defender.

Hansen crossed a few minutes later to give the Australians two tries in the first 10 minutes and it was McDermott’s turn to hit the scoresheet next, just rewards for his hand in creating countless attacking opportunities through the first term.

Ikitau was one of Australia’s chief destroyers through the middle of the field and he was next to cross, opening up a 24-0 lead with 15 to play in the first term.

A James Ramm penalty as the half time siren sounded sent the two sides into the break, Australia comfortable with a 27-0 lead.Isaac Lucas scored a second half try for the Australians. Photo: SportographyForward driven Australian tries to Patrick Tafa and Fraser McReight kicked things off when play resumed but it took until the 60th minute for the Aussies to bring the crowd to their feet again, a sublime Ikitau offload through contact putting Isaac Lucas in for his first five pointer of the night.

An individual effort from McTaggart notched the half century with six minutes to play, Australia's defence resolute in keeping the visitors to just one try having come under constant duress in their red zone.

Earlier, New Zealand fell three points short of a rare century in a remarkably lopsided win over Tonga.

The Aussies next play Tonga on Tuesday May 1 at 5pm AEST, while New Zealand plays Fiji at 3pm AEST, all LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.


Australia 51

Tries: Ross, Hansen, McDermott, Ikitau, McReight, Tafa, Lucas, McTaggart

Cons: Ramm 4

Pens: Ramm

Fiji 5

New Zealand 97

Tries: Faingaanuku 3, Florence, Christie, Telea, Sullivan, Trask, Asi, Penalty, Riedlinger, Kapa, Tremain

Cons: Plummer 8, Matoe 2

Tonga 0