WRAP UP: U20 World Championship - Semi Finals

WRAP UP: U20 World Championship - Semi Finals

France and Australia won their respective semi-finals took book their place in the final on Saturday.

 Australia reaching the final for the first time since Matt Toomua represented the side in 2010 while France will look to defend their title.

There were a number of intriguing results and excellent clash in the penultimate day of action.

Here is our full wrap up of the action:

New Zealand 7-8 Wales

Cai Evans showed nerves of steel to boot Wales to a famous and dramatic 8-7 victory over New Zealand.

Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler’s opportunistic score gave Wales the edge before the game was delayed for an hour due to an electrical storm overhead. New Zealand looked to have snatched the result when Tupou Va’ai crashed over nine minutes from time, but Evans kicked Wales to a historic result.

Both teams sides struggled to maintain possession for long spells as the rain continued to hammer down but it was Wales who worked the conditions to their advantage when Thomas-Wheeler pounced on a New Zealand error for an opportunistic score.

It looked as if Wales were going to pay for their missed opportunities when Va’ai scooped up the ball and crashed over from close range with 5 minutes to play. Wales worked their way upfield before the referee awarded one in Evans’ range, the outside-half showed no hesitation in pointing to the posts and slotted it to give Wales the win.

Scotland 19-26 Italy

A complementary scoreline for Scotland thanks to two late tries but in the end, Italy were the dominant side and deserved the win.

Ewan Ashman scored off the back of a maul in the 16th minute before Trulla was set up by a lovely grubber kick by Paolo Garbisi to his fullback in under the stick after 25 minutes. Italy managed to score through Mastandrea after another kick through before the game was suspended due to lightning. The final three minutes of the first half was played some thirty minutes later and Italy managed to dot down one more time before 'half time' with Damiano Mazza handing off a player to score.

The teams swiftly changed sides for the second half and it took some twenty minutes for the next try, in terrible conditions, with Paolo Garbisi ghosting through the defence to score. Scotland used just about all their players to power over the line for their second try as hooker Ewan Ashman grabbed a brace before Jack Blain scored a stunning try as Scotland looked to level the scores in the dying minutes. However, the clock caught up with them as a pass went into touch to bring the game to an end. Scotland now face Fiji in the relegation playoff of the competition.

Georgia 12-8 Fiji 

A largely unentertaining game as both sides failed to deal with the tough conditions thrown at them. Georgia dominated up front winning numerous penalties in the scrum however, it was Fiji who took the lead when Muntz spotted a gap and put Momo through. The score would remain unchanged for the remainder of the half. 

Muntz would extend Fiji's lead to 8 points in the 53rd minute and that would be Fiji's last addition to the scoreboard as Georgia scored 12 unanswered points to secure their place in next year's edition of the competition. Ioane Iashagashvili and Vano Karkadze both dotted down for the Georgians as they marched on to victory.

Fiji now face Scotland in the relegation playoff while Georgia face Italy on the final day.

Argentina 13-34 Australia 

Australia u20 booked their spot in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship Final with an impressive 34-13 win over hosts Argentina u20.
Australia opened the scoring with an early penalty, but then picked up a yellow card, with the resulting penalty levelling the scores at 3-3. Despite being down a player, Australia scored the first try to lead 10-3. Argentina pulled three points back with a penalty to reduce the deficit to four points. Australia then crossed for a second try to take control 17-6. The first half would end in drama, as a red card for a second yellow resulted in a penalty try for Argentina which saw the hosts head into the break trailing 17-13.

Australia would have to play the entire second half a player down. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Australia ran in two tries to storm into a 31-13 advantage heading into the final quarter. Argentina were dominating both possession and territory but were unable to convert that pressure into points thanks to some outstanding Australian defence. Australia would add a late penalty to seal the victory and march on to the Final.
South Africa 7-20 France
France will have the opportunity to defend their U20s title after they managed to muscle past a resilient South African side and will face Australia in the final.
Louis Carbonel marshalled his side to victory with his accurate boot and general play as France's defence stood firm against the unbeaten side.
France dominated in the opening stages of the game with Louis Carbonel punishing the Junior Boks with his accurate boot converting two penalties, one from long-range.

Jordan Joseph then added to his impressive try-scoring run off the back of a powerful maul to score out wide and Carbonel failed to convert. The French flyhlf did manage to extend his side's lead to 14 points before the half-hour mark before South Africa stamped their mark on the encounter.
The Junior Boks took the ball through multiple phases on a number occasions with the French defence holding firm up until the 39-minute when hooker Fezokhule Mbatha forced his way over the line with Hendrikse cutting the lead in half.
The Junior Boks continued to dominate possession in the early knockings of the second half but just couldn't find a crack in the French defensive wall and the first points of the second half came through Carbonel's boot before the hour, with Hendrikse missing one shot of his own in the 48th minute.
Carbonel slotted another two penalties in the second half, missing another, as the Junior Boks continued to thump on the door but in the end, they still couldn't find a way through the excellent French defence.
Ireland 23-30 England
 In a game that was played in wet and muddy position conditions Ireland looked like the team determined to get one over their rivals for the second time in the competition. The Irish made the English do a lot of defensive work, and they got a slight advantage when Ted Hill was issued a yellow carded in the 6th minute for a tip tackle.

In the 11th minute, Ireland No. 10 Ben Healy converted a penalty which put his side in the lead. England managed to equalise six minutes later with a penalty of their own to make it 3-3 after Josh Hodge converted his strike.

Ireland took the lead once again in the 21st minute, as healy kicked his second penalty of the match to put the Irish in the lead once again. The English got given their second yellow card, Kai Owen, for a high tackle but Healy failed to extend the Irish lead.

Josh Hodge scored the first try of the game just before half-time and took the English into the break 13-6.

The second half started with Ireland on the front foot and in the 44th minute Healy got his side back within four points of England.

England quickly got themselves back in the game and restored their lead to 16-9 after a penalty right in front of the Irish posts. In the 55th minute England extended their lead to 23-9 after Sam Maunder went over close to the line.

In the 57th minute, there was more misery inflicted to Ireland as Dylan Tierney was adjudged to tackle England’s No.15 high and it saw him get 10 minutes in the bin.

Ireland’s Jonathan Wren managed to score in the left-hand corner for his side to make a seven point game and then two minutes later Brain Deeny charged down a box kick to score and level things up for his team.

Rusiate Tuima, who ended up being England’s third player to see yellow, was sent to the bin for a high tackle and England had to play the last five minutes with 14 men.

Even though they were a man down the English kept the ball well and put the Irish under pressure. The pressure got too much in the end and the English went over in the 80th minute of the game after a great maul close to the line which won them the game 23-30.

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