Junior Wallabies qualify for semi finals


13/06/2019





The Junior Wallabies will take on tournament hosts, Argentina in the semi-finals of the U20 Rugby World Championships.

Jason Gilmore’s side booked their place in the knockout stage courtesy of strong wins over Italy (42-26) and Ireland (45-17) and a bonus point loss to England (31-56).

The Junior Wallabies progression out of the pool and into the semi-finals was secured before the England fixture, and Gilmore took the opportunity to share minutes across his squad.

However, Gilmore’s plans were thrown into disarray after Pat Tafa saw red in the opening minutes. The no.8 was reprimanded for making contact to the head and neck of Aaron Hinkley in what at the time seemed a relatively innocuous tackle.

Playing a man down the Junior Wallabies found themselves a long way out of the contest at half-time, as England ran in six converted tries.

Gilmore’s men dug deep after the break, outscoring their rivals 21-14 in the second half to earn a bonus point as England ran out 31-56 winners.

It might not have been the result they were after, but the Junior Wallabies can take plenty of confidence out of their fightback as they head into the semi-finals.

Junior Wallabies Head Coach Jason Gilmore said: "We knew that this would be a game that England would front up for and they did.

"It was a tough day at the office to play with 14 men for 78 minutes, however outscoring them 21-14 in the second half really shows the character of the team we have and we're proud of their efforts.

"We're now looking forward to playing Argentina in the semi-finals next week."

Across the pool fixtures some young NSW Waratahs have been making their mark with Angus Bell, Will Harris, Will Harrison and Mark Nawaqanitawase featuring heavily in each of the pool games, with minutes off the bench for the likes of Pat Tafa and Ben Donaldson.

Harris has been strong at the base of the forward pack scoring two tries, while Nawaqanitawase has also found the tryline. Will Harrison has led the attack, amassing 35 points across three pool games.

After coming off the bench in the final pool game it’s expected Harris will re-join the XV, seeing six New South Wales players in Gilmore’s starting side.

The Junior Wallabies semi-final against Argentine will kick off at 2am (AEST) on Tuesday 18 June, broadcast live on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo Sports.


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