Junior Wallabies advance to Fifth-Place Final


The Junior Wallabies have defeated Italy 44-15 in the Fifth Place Semi Final at the World Rugby U20s Championship overnight in Narbonne.

The Junior Wallabies have defeated Italy 44-15 in the Fifth Place Semi Final at the World Rugby U20s Championship overnight in Narbonne.

Australia scored six tries to Italy’s three, two of which went to New South Welshmen George Francis and Bayley Kuenzle as the young men in gold secured a place in the Fifth Place Final.

Impressively Australia played the majority of the match with 14 men when forward Michael Wood was red carded for accidentally making contact with the head of an Italian opponent in a ruck in the 20th minute.

The Junior Wallabies stepped up their game having been reduced to 14 men and began their comprehensive takedown of their Italian opponents.

Junior Wallabies Captain, Ryan Lonergan said: “It was always going to be a tough game, especially at the set piece, so losing Michael was unfortunate. Credit to the piggies they really stepped it up and allowed us backs to score some tries.

“Our tight five has really been killing it through the whole comp and for them to step it up on such a hot day is a credit to them.

“We knew Italy was going to be tough for the whole 80 but we knew if we stuck to our structure, points will come.

“We’ll review and get ready for Argentina.”

Australia will play Argentina U20s in a Rugby Championship battle on Sunday 17 June at 10.00pm AEST.

The match started in a slow fashion with both sides trading blows, but it was Italy who scored first to take an early lead with two quick tries.

Australia struck back with a Harry Hockings try and penalty to take the score to 8-10 in favour of Italy when the Aussies were reduced to 14 men.

Australia scored a great team try from a lineout with some superb hands from Efi Maafu, Hamish Stewart and Semisi Tupou set up a brilliant try for flyhalf (Stewart), handing the Australians their first lead despite being down a man, 15-10.

That scoreline remained for the rest of the first half.

Italy would be reduced to 14 men with a yellow card when Italian prop Matteo Nocera was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Angus Blyth.

From the ensuing penalty, Semisi Tupou sliced through the defence for a barnstorming Fraser McReight to score and extend Australia’s lead.

Junior Wallabies reserve prop and NSW Generation Blue enforcer, George Francis injected some energy into the Australian forwards and he was rewarded with a try of his own in the 61st minute to take the score to 29-10.

A penalty kick by Ryan Lonergan off the back of some strong work at the breakdown by McReight ended the Italian resistance as the Junior Wallabies moved to 32-10 in the 65th minute.

Tries to Fraser McReight and Bayley Kuenzle added further damage on the scoreboard, increasing Australia’s lead to 34 points.

A late Italian try was a consolation as the Junior Wallabies kept their unbeaten run against Italy at the World Rugby U20s Championship with the final score of 44-15.

Junior Wallabies 44

Tries: Hockings, Stewart, McReight 2, Francis, Kuenzle
Cons: Lonergan 3, Harrison
Pens: Lonergan 2

Italy Under 20s 15

Tries: D'Onofrio 3


Seven Generation Blue Under 20s have been included in the Junior Wallabies side to face Italy in Wednesday morning’s Fifth-Place Semi-Final.

Shoreman Pat Tafa will start the match at No.8 for the second time this campaign, the backrower making his last start in the Junior Wallabies’ 54-19 victory over Japan.

Southern Districts pivot Bayley Kuenzle will ply his trade in the midfield, starting at inside-centre to make way for Hamish Stewart at flyhalf.

Props George Francis (Eastwood) and Charlie Hancock (Sydney University) will make their impact off the bench, while Gordon’s Hugh Margin and Sydney University’s Rory Suttor will provide options in the backrow.

NSW Waratahs signing and 2017 Australian Schoolboys captain Will Harrison has also been named on the bench in the No.22 jersey.

Junior Wallabies Head Coach, Jason Gilmore said: “Italy have played some really good Rugby at this tournament and they are an exciting team.

“They only lost one game in their Pool to England and have threats all over the park, which we look forward to meeting.

“It’ll be a different style of Rugby to what we have played this year, so the team will have to be ready for the challenge and to adapt.”

In the other battle for Fifth Place, Argentina will meet Wales.

Australia will play in the Fifth Place Semi Final, kicking off at 12.30am AEST from Narbonne on Wednesday 13 June with the match to be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

Junior Wallabies side to face Italy:

1.Harry Hoopert, Queensland, Brothers
2. Efi Ma’afu, Queensland, Wests
3. Tom Ross, ACT, Gungahlin
4. Angus Blyth, Queensland, Bond University
5. Harry Hockings, Queensland, University of Queensland
6. Michael Wood, Queensland, Brothers
7. Fraser McReight, Queensland, Brothers
8. Pat Tafa, NSW, Norths
9. Ryan Lonergan, ACT, Vikings
10. Hamish Stewart, Queensland, Bond University
11. Jordan Petaia, Queensland, Wests
12. Bayley Kuenzle, NSW, Southern Districts
13. Semisi Tupou, Victoria, Box Hill
14. Matt McTaggart, NSW, Easts (Australian Sevens)
15. Lawson Creighton, Queensland, Brothers

16. Matt Faessler, Queensland, Brothers
17. George Francis, NSW, Eastwood
18. Charlie Hancock, NSW, Sydney University
19. Hugh Margin, NSW, Gordon
20. Rory Suttor, NSW, Sydney University
21. Tate McDermott, Queensland, University of Queensland
22. Will Harrison, NSW, Randwick
23. Mack Hansen, ACT Gungahlin

The NSW Waratahs' draw for the 2019 Vodafone Super Rugby season has been officially announced today. Check out the round-by-round lineup now!