Junior Wallabies captain Tate McDermott was left ‘devastated’ after a loss to New Zealand ended their hopes of a World Rugby U20s semi-finals berth this morning.
The Aussies fought their way back from 14-3 down to trail by two points until the 62nd minute when New Zealand scored the winning try.
McDermott couldn’t hide his disappointment after the match, that was their best display of the tournament.
“We’re pretty devastated after that one,” he said.
“I felt as if we put our heart and soul into that match and we were in it the whole game so we were pretty devastated.”
Small errors proved the ultimate difference in the end, with New Zealand pouncing on Australian mistakes, McDermott said.
“We were in that the whole game, right to the end,” he said.
“They capitalised on our errors and our errors only. I thought we showed a tremendous amount of fight, courage.
“What we said we were going to do we did out there but it was just those little concentration lapses that cost us.”
Coach Jason Gilmore said he was proud of his team’s ability to stay in the game, something that is becoming somewhat of a trademark for his side.
“Each of the second halves we’ve played through Oceania and through here, we’ve actually won the second half,” he said.
“We’ve highlighted that first 20 minutes was the part of the game we wanted to make sure we dominated and unfortunately we gifted them two tries early but one thing with this group is they always fight hard.”
“New Zealand’s obviously a traditional rival for us and we knew it’d be a really tough game.
“I thought our boys were really courageous through it and really proud of their efforts."
Australia were well on top in the scrum, an area that has been the Aussies’ strength throughout the tournament, and earned Gilmore’s praise again.
“The scrum’s been excellent and Ruaridh Murphy our forwards coach is very passionate about the scrum and our whole tight five has been tremendous this tournament, so the scrum’s been a positive for us,” he said.
The tournament is not quite over for the Aussies just yet, with a fifth-place semi-final against Italy to come next Wednesday.
Final tournament placings determine where teams are seeded in the draw for 2019 and Gilmore said they wanted to ensure they finished as high as possible in France.
“It’s a whole new competition again,” he said.
“We’ve just got to make sure we finish as high as we can to help out next year’s group with where they’re finishing, so there’s still plenty to play for with this side.”
Australia takes on Italy in the fifth-place semi-final on Tuesday June 12,kicking off at 4:30pm local, Wednesday 12:30am AEST.