New Zealand retain Oceania U20s title

Oceania Rugby, Sun May 6, 2018 7:00AM

New Zealand were too strong for Australia in their 43-28 victory. (Credit: Sportography)

The final round of the 2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Championships saw Tonga take on Fiji and the Junior Wallabies up against New Zealand in the Championship final.

New Zealand add a fourth Oceania Rugby U20s Championship trophy to the cabinet taking the decider 28-43 from their trans-tasmin rivals. Australia started the match with promise dominating possession and controlling the opening 10mins, despite losing Len Ikitau in the opening minutes to injury. The Aussies were rewarded for their efforts with a try to Matt McTaggart who intercepted an unruly pass from the New Zealander’s.

Unrattled by the strong Australian start the Kiwi’s hit back with a try to Jay Renton less than 10 minutes later. Australia captain Ryan Lonergan received a yellow card just before half time which resulted in a New Zealand try to Harry Plummer who converted to bring the score to 7-24 at half time.

Australia fought on in the second half and were rewarded with three more tries the third coming on the back of a yellow card to New Zealand’s Kaleb Trask. The second half charge wasn’t enough for the Australians to topple the New Zealand outfit which was lead by their captain Tom Christie, Christie finished with 3 tries for the night.

Both teams head to France for the World Rugby U20s Championship at the end of May.

Speaking after the match Australian captain Tait McDermott said, “The boys gave a lot out there, but we also made a lot of basic errors which we had to pay for. We knew that this one would be definitely a lot faster than the first two games and this has been perfect preparation going into the Junior World Cup. It’s not the best feeling with the results tonight but we will take the lesson tonight as motivation.”

Tom Christie, New Zealand Captain said, “From a New Zealand point of few we love these Trans-Tasman battles and it was a pleasure playing this match tonight. The most pleasing thing this week is what we’ve developed off the field. Credit to my boys but also credit to Australia for putting up a good fight and especially in the front row.”

New Zealand 43 (Tries: Christie 3, Jackson, Renton, Tele'a; Cons: Plummer 5; Pens: Plummer) defeated Australia 28 (Tries: Kemeny, Lonergan, McTaggert, Hansen; Cons: Lucas 3, Lonergan)



Earlier in the evening Fiji outstretched an injury crippled Tongan side 53-0 to take 3rd in the 2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Championship. Fiji took an early lead in the 7th minute curtesy of Nabetelevu Turaganivalu. In a match that saw possession change hands often Tonga were not able to capitalise on their chances.

Tongan captain Sunia Finifeuiaki said, “The score board doesn’t reflect how hard the boys worked. I am proud of the boys for their effort in the second half. The tournament has been really good for the boys, especially the local ones, it’s been an opportunity for them to come and learn and develop."

Fiji captain Raikabula Momoedonu said, “Coming into the last game tonight we knew what we wanted especially after coming out of two losses against Australia and New Zealand and we wanted to end on a high and we gave it our all and we put it up there on the score board. I am proud of the way the boys worked together as a unit this evening and also how we hammered down our set pieces, so credit to the boys.”

Fiji will feature at the World Rugby U20s Trophy, along with Samoa after their relegation in 2017, later this year.

Fiji 54 (Tries: Nabetelevu 3, Bogidrau, Patterson 2, Nasamila, Vudogo; Cons: Muntz 3; Pens: Muntz) defeated Tonga 0.

Top scorers for the tournament were:

Harry Plummer (NZL) 49 points
Matt McTaggert (AUS) 30 points
Isaac Lucas (AUS) 20 points
Tom Christie (NZL) 20 points
Will Harrison (AUS) 17 points

Matt McTaggert (AUS) and Tom Christie (NZL) topped the try scorers list with 4 tries each.

Last updated: Thursday October 25, 2018 6:21PM