New Zealand and Australia open the Oceania Rugby U20s Championship with convincing wins.
The first match of the tournament saw reigning championships New Zealand take a convincing win against 2016 Oceania Rugby U20 Trophy winners Fiji. New Zealand opened the scoring with 2 penalty goals and using the strong wind behind them to pin Fiji in their own half for most of opening spell.
The second half saw Fiji display a few moments of brilliance, but were not able to capitalise ending the game with just the 3 points to New Zealand’s 63.
New Zealand Captain Luke Jacobson said he was satisfied with his team’s performance and when asked about the team’s defence and their ability to keep the ball off Fiji in the first half added that the boys worked hard to keep their structure on the field and get the ‘pill’ to where it needed to be.
Fiji Captain Temo Sukayawa Mayanavanua noted that the pace of the New Zealanders was hard to keep up with and with Australia on home soil he is expecting the next game to be just as tough.
Full Match Results: Please click here
Images are available for download here
The second match had Samoa up against Host Union Australia, with Australia taking the win 43 to Samoa’s 20. Although taking the win Australian Head Coach, Simon Cron said ‘there were too many drop balls for my liking’.
Australia started the match well with a try through James Ramm in the opening ten minutes as the Aussie U20s opened their 2017 campaign at home. The lead was short lived as Samoa came back quickly to score through Fred Filipo and level the scores.
Australia started to build pressure and eventually were able to score their second try off a loose pass by Samoa as they looked to move the ball too quickly leaving Len Ikatau an open run to the try line.
Samoa kept in touch through the boot of fullback Ricky Ene who kicked a penalty in the windy conditions to narrow the gap to 12-10. Scrumhalf, Ryan Lonergan continued his attacking snipes around the ruck and eventually was rewarded with a try of his own in the 23rd minute.
On the cusp of half time Angus Scott-Young made a barnstorming run through several Samoan covering tackles to score and give Australia U20s a 24-10 lead at the break. In the second half the conditions worsened at Bond University, but Australia U20s continued to attack Samoa and were rewarded in the 46th minute with a try to Harry Johnson-Holmes taking the score to 31-10.
Samoa again kept in touch through the boot of Ricky Ene but a try to captain Reece Hewat took Australia’s lead to 38-13. Australia scored a try to take the game out of range as Efitusi Maafu broke through a channel of Samoan forwards to cross the white line in the corner and move the scoreboard to 43-13. A late try by Samoa in the 80th minute added some respectability to the scoreboard taking the match to 43-20.
ROUND 2: Bond University, Gold Coast
Tues 2 May: New Zealand v Samoa 1500Tues 2 May: Australia v Fiji 1700
Team announcements - Round 2:
Australia U20 TeamNew Zealand U20 TeamSamoa U20 TeamFiji U20 Team
Photo credit Oceania Rugby/Sportography.