Junior Wallabies fight to keep semi-finals hopes alive

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore is pleased his side is still alive in the World Rugby U20s competition, after a confidence-boosting win over Japan.

Australia piled on four tries in the final 20 minutes to blow out the score line, a finish that gave the side plenty of optimism heading into a crunch game against New Zealand.

“We needed the five points out of that game to stay in the competition,” Gilmore said.

“The boys fought really hard through the game, probably we had our patches, just a bit of slowness just through the middle of that first half there, but really pleasing how we finished the game in the last 20 minutes.

“I think the boys just getting confidence of what they're doing,” he said.

“They fought pretty hard there through patches but when you work hard, points can come pretty quickly like they did at the back end of the game.”

The Junior Wallabies have beaten Japan. Photo: AFPAustralia had their first taste of what rugby might look like under the soon to be introduced high tackle laws as well, with prop Lawrence Tominiko yellow-carded.

Tominiko was carded for a dangerous tackle in the 75th minute, when he caught a player high.

With a new crackdown on high tackle laws, lowering the height line to the nipple, to be tested in the upcoming World Rugby U20s trophy, Gilmore said there was only going to be more instances of players being caught in that situation.

“It's a tough one because he bent at the hips, he was nice and low but the Japanese player was bent lower there and he was the ball carrier, so in terms of the first contact point, I don't know where else you're meant to hit, to be honest,” he said.

“It wasn't reckless or illegal or anything like that. With the new tackle laws, they're the situations we're going to find ourselves in.”

The Junior Wallabies take on New Zealand on Friday, and Gilmore said they had to iron out the ups and downs of their games ahead of that clash.

New Zealand is the only undefeated team in Pool A, having beaten Japan 67-0 and Wales 42-10 in the first two matches, and the bested the Aussies 43-28 in April's Oceania U20s.

“We've got to make sure we exit well and relieve pressure on ourselves,” Gilmore said.

“There's probably a couple of times we played a bit too much in our back 30, which put us a bit under pressure. We know when we exit, we've got the attack that can put points on.” 

The Junior Wallabies take on New Zealand on Friday at 5am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.