Forward pack key to determined Junior Wallabies win: Gilmore

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore beamed with pride as he wrapped his side's huge win over Italy.

It was the forwards, according to Gilmore, who had put in huge shifts with blindside flanker Michael Wood watching on from the sideline for the majority of the match.

"I thought all the forwards were outstanding," Gilmore said.

"To put that kind of performance in and play like we did in the second half with just 14 men - we're really happy."

Gilmore didn't have too many complaints regarding Wood's red card for a kick to the head of an Italian player, though he did point out that the action was not intentional.

"It's one of those tough ones where he was trying to clear the ball out of the ruck and unfortunately made contact with the head," he said.Bayley Kuenzle starred at inside centre. Photo: World Rugby"I was really happy with how the boys responded to that and I said to them at half time that our forwards were going to win us this game.

"I thought Efi (Maafu) and Fraser (McReight) were both outstanding but so were all the forwards.

"Then we had our bench come on and do a great job as well - George Francis and Rory Suttor were outstanding in the impact they brought."

The Australian attack was also regularly aided by some strong runs from the centre pairing - Bayley Kuenze and Semisi Tupou.A fifth place playoff with Argentina awaits the Australians. Photo: World Rugby"I thought both centres were great," Gilmore said.

"Bayley Kuenzle was really strong with his carries in the middle of the field there and Semisi (Tupou) looked dangerous every time he got his hands on the ball."

The win earns the Australians the chance to better their sixth-place finish at the tournament in 2017, a result which would provide some consolation having missed the top four for the seventh straight season.

"There are a few boys here that was part of that squad last year and I know they were disappointed with that result (12 months ago)," Gilmore said.

"We know they're going to be similar to Italy in the way they play but we'll take a closer look at them and go from there."

The Junior Wallabies take on Argentina in the fifth-place playoff on Sunday, kicking off at 1:50pm local, 9:50pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.