Junior Wallabies won't drop intensity against England despite already sewing up finals spot

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Emma Greenwood

They may already have booked their place in the semi-finals but the Junior Wallabies are adamant they will not lift their foot from the pedal in their final U20 world championship pool match against England.

Australia secured its place at the top of Pool B with a bonus-point win over Ireland on Saturday - its second from two games at the tournament - and cannot be displaced regardless of the result against England.

But coach Jason Gilmore said it would not change his team's approach to playing England, a team among the favourites for the title before the tournament began.

"We wanted to get a clean sweep in our pool stage," Gilmore said.

"We've said the whole way along that winning's a habit and we want to keep this momentum going into the semis.

"And it's another Test match. It's a big one against England and the boys are really keen to play in this one."

Just one team outside of the three pool winners will advance to the semi-finals in Argentina and Gilmore said it was a relief for the Junior Wallabies to have their spot already locked down.

Junior Wallabies no.8 Will Harris is tackled taking the ball up against Ireland. Photo:  Franco Perego/World Rugby

"It's just good to know you can go into game three with that already locked away and not have to rely on bonus points and results going your way," he said.

"It's a pretty tough tournament to get into the top four and we've had that in the past where we've finished on the same comp points and haven't had that luxury.

"So it's good to have that locked away."

Australia sealed their place in the finals by beating a 14-man Ireland 45-17 in Santa Fe.

The Irish hit back in the second half to take the lead despite being down a man but the Junior Wallabies eventually prevailed in a mature performance.

"We just couldn't get any territory, we kept getting jammed down on our tryline and had to defend a heap of lineout mauls and pick-and-drive sets and our defence stood up," Gilmore said.

"We knew once we could get over the 50m line that our attack would take care of itself, it was just a case of getting some territory.

"These days, when you lose a player to the bin, teams play with 14 men regularly with yellow cards these days, so it doesn't really have an impact until that last 20 (minutes)."

 

Australia is likely to shuffle its starting side somewhat for the Test against England but with winning a priority, there will not be wholesale changes.

"(England) will be really strong with their set piece but I think the turnaround with all the northern hemisphere teams in the last five or six years is they can actually use the football as well," Gilmore said.

"They're pretty similar to Ireland in that they've got a couple of athletics outside backs that can finish well in space and they use their forwards through the middle of the field and in lineout mauls, so we know what to expect.

"It's a Test match that we want to win, so we're not going to make wholesale changes for the sake of it but we'll have a look at our side at training and announce (the team) on Tuesday (Argentinian time).

"The boys have got good momentum going at the moment and they're all behind it."

Winger Triston Reilly is likely to come into consideration after missing the Ireland Test with injury.

Sione Tui on his way to scoring the Junior Wallabies opening try against Ireland. Photo: Franco Perego/World Rugby.

"We just had a slight niggle with Triston for game two but he's coming along pretty nicely for this game," Gilmore said.

Australia plays England in its final pool match in Santa Fe on Thursday, June 13, at 4:30am AEST.