Eight teams including Fiji competed for the World Rugby U20 Trophy title in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in August and September. The age-grade tournament took place from 29 August to 10 September at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo, while the third match day (6 September) was played in Punta del Este.
The teams were divided into two pools of four, with the top teams from each pool facing off on the last day to determine the winner.
Pool A: Japan, Namibia, Canada and ChilePool B: Fiji, Portugal, hosts Uruguay and Hong Kong.
CLICK HERE for Official tournament websiteThe sister tournament to the World Rugby U20 Championship, the winner of the U20 Trophy will replace Samoa in the 2018 edition of the Championship. Samoa, who finished bottom of the standings in Georgia, will compete at the U20 Trophy in 2018 in an attempt to secure an immediate return to the top tier.
Japan won the title beating Portugal 14-3 in the Final. Uruguay beat Namibia 34-12 for third while Chile beat Fiji 15-13 to claim fifth spot.ROUND 1
Fiji, Japan, Portugal and Namibia defy wet conditions in Montevideo to get off to winning starts at World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017.
Heavy rain fell throughout as the European champions, competing in their third U20 Trophy, recorded only their second win in the pool stages after out-scoring the more fancied Los Teritos three tries to two.
Promotion-seeking Japan also beat South American opposition in the form of Chile but did not have it all their own way, edging another tight contest 28-22, while African U19 champions Namibia kicked off proceedings with a 31-16 win over Canada. Fiji, placed third in the 2016 edition of the Trophy, saw off Hong Kong 26-7 in the final match of the day at the Estadio Charrua.
FIJI 26-7 HONG KONG
It took a two-try salvo within the final 10 minutes for Fiji to finally douse Hong Kong’s spirited resistance.An even first-half saw Fiji leading 7-0 at the break thanks to Temo Sukayawa Mayanavanua’s eighth-minute score and Jamie Kotz’s conversion.
But Hong Kong were back on level terms within eight minutes of the restart when captain and scrum-half scrum half Mark Coebergh dived over and Matt Worley added the conversion.
However, Fiji regained the lead through Apisalome Bogidrau, who went on to score a second late in the match, shortly after Lekima Nasamila had touched down for their third try.
The U20 Trophy continues on Saturday with Portugal and Hong Kong kicking off proceedings at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo, followed by Namibia and Chile. Japan and Canada are third up before the second round comes to a close with Fiji against Uruguay.
FIJI 3 URUGUAY 34
Uruguay were unrecognisable from the side that toiled for long periods in an opening day defeat to Portugal, scoring five tries in a performance that delighted the large home crowd at the Charrúa Stadium in Montevideo.
Alejo Piazza’s score not long after the kick-off set the tone for a match in which Los Teritos demonstrated an abundance of skill in the backs as well as their traditional strength upfront.
Fiji pulled three points back in the sixth minute through the boot of Filimoni Botitu but, incredibly for a side with so much flair, that was the last time they troubled the scoreboard.
Front row pair Guillermo Pujadas and Yamandú Arburúas scored tries from rolling mauls and Piazza contributed five more points from the tee as Uruguay took a 20-3 lead into half-time.
Manuel Leindekar dotted down in the 51st minute to claim the bonus-point try before a rampaging run from Pujadas set up a fifth and final try. With Fiji shorn of numbers in defence following Lekima Nasamila’s yellow card, quickly recycled ball gave Martín Cattivelli the time and space he needed to put a pinpoint kick towards Juan Garese and the replacement flanker was left with the simplest of finishes.
PORTUGAL 16-13 FIJI
A late penalty goal from the trusty boot of Jorge Abecasis handed Portugal a famous win that sees them through to their first-ever Trophy final.
However, Portugal were nearly masters of their own downfall as they squandered a 13-0 lead and then handed Fiji a golden opportunity to draw the game with only seconds remaining.
Fortunately for them, Fijian full-back Jamie Kotz struck the upright with his 20-metre penalty attempt and the Junior Os Lobos held onto the ball for the remaining seconds of the match.
After beating Uruguay (20-18) and Hong Kong (31-24) in the first two games, Portugal needed to defeat Fiji in their final Pool B fixture to secure a place in the final.
In a flawless first half performance, Abecasis kicked two penalties and converted Francisco Vassalo’s try to hand Portugal a 13-0 interval lead.
Fiji’s cause was not helped by losing two of their front-five forwards to the sin-bin in quick succession as the half-hour mark approached, meaning they played out the majority of the half down to 13 men.
The Pacific Islanders came out firing at the start of the second half, scoring within two minutes of the restart when centre Filimoni Savou crashed through a couple of tackles. With Jamie Kotz kicking the conversion and adding two quick penalties, all of a sudden Fiji were right back in the game at 13-13.
A third penalty from Abercasis edged Portugal back in front with nine minutes to go but there was still time for some late drama. Attempting to run the clock down with a series of pick-and-goes inside their 22 instead of clearing their lines with a kick to touch, Portugal were penalised at the breakdown to hand Kotz with the simplest of chances to draw the game, and ultimately hand Uruguay a place in the final.
Kotz had kicked three from three up to that point and seemed certain to break Portugese hearts; however, to his dismay, his effort rebounded off the left hand post to leave Portugal celebrating a famous victory.
FIFTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
Chile tackled their hearts out and hung in for a 15-13 victory to claim fifth place at the expense of a Fijian side that struggled to adapt to the wet conditions at the Estadio Charrúa
Fiji’s Jamie Kotz put his crucial miss against Portugal on Wednesday to one side to slot the first points of the game from the kicking tee with eight minutes gone.
But Chile weren’t behind for long as they came back at Fiji through the forwards and won a penalty try on 15 minutes. Fiji tight-head Luke Tagi was despatched to the sin-bin for repeatedly collapsing the scrum and, two minutes later, they made the Pacific Islanders’ pay with a second try, this time scored by Rodrigo Manzano. Tomas Sales missed the chance to put his side 14-3 when his conversion attempt flew wide of the posts.
14-man Fiji responded well, Viliame Suwawa scoring twice between the 24th and 29th minute, to put last year’s bronze medallists 13-12 up. The advantage would have been bigger had Kotz not missed both conversions and a 35th-minute penalty.
With captain and blindside flanker Alfonso Escobar putting in a superb shift in both attack and defence Chile refused to buckle and they reclaimed the lead when Sales knocked over a penalty on the hour mark.
That would prove to be the only scoring act of the half with Fiji’s attempts to get back into the game suffering a blow when they lost Fabiano Navabale to the sin-bin on 67 minutes.