France edge Australia to win back to back U20 titles

France edge Australia to win back to back U20 titles

France claimed a single point victory over Australia to retain the World Rugby U20 Championship thanks largely to the boot of Louis Carbonel who just missed one of his six shots at goal.


The Junior Wallabies will rue their missed shots at goal in a game that saw seven lead changes.

Australia came flying out of the gates scoring the second fastest try in a World Rugby U20 Championship final with Issac Lucas putting Mark Nawaqanitawase way down the touchline with the winger scoring with just 49 seconds on the clock, just fifteen seconds shy of Liam Coltman's record when he dotted down against Australia in 2010.



Will Harrison missed the chance to put Australia seven points up and it didn't take France long to respond with hooker Theo Lachaud rampaging over the last defender to score after Leo Coly broke through from a turnover.

Louis Carbonel and Will Harrison traded penalties before Aussie hooker Lachlan Longergan sprinted down the touchline to score in the 22nd minute as the Junior Wallabies regained the lead.

Both sides continued to show their attacking intent but it was France that would score next, and regain the lead, as they punished the Junior Wallabies illdicispline. Carbonel popped the penalty into the corner a nice wrap around from the driving maul show tighthead prop Alex Burin power over with five minutes left in the half, Carbonel would miss the touchline conversion.

Carbonel did miss his next kick before the break as France took a 5 point lead into the break with Carbonel converting a penalty.

The Junior Wallabies started the second half in the same manner as they did the first with Will Harrison just being held up over the line in the opening minutes and had an attacking scrum 5m out. However, Jordan Joseph stopped the Junior Wallabies twice, holding Harrison up before he stripped Wilson of the ball following the scrum.

France gave numerous penalties away in the opening 10 minutes of the second half before Wilson finally made them pay as he powered over the line to regain the lead for the Junior Wallabies with Harrison converting to make it 20-18

France continued to infringe with 5 penalties conceded in the first twelve minutes with Harrison missing from the tee from the 5th of those penalties.

That miss proved to be costly as France would hit back through Carbonel's boot after Australia had enjoyed 90% possession and 75% territory in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

It did not take long for Harrison to hit back as Harrison regained the lead in the 58th minute with a penalty. [23-21]

With France looking to bounce back, Fraser McReight came up with a stellar pilfer winning the penalty with his side under the pump. The French pack delivered a massive shove on the Junior Wallaby pack to win the penalty in the 64th minute with Carbonel slotting it and handing the lead back to France.

MacDonald took over the kicking duties with Australia winning a penalty soon after the restart but he failed to take the lead once again.

France worked their way into Australia's half and went in search of a late penalty to seal the victory before a knock on handed Australia a scrum with three minutes remaining on the clock.

The Champions were able to hold the Junior Wallabies out and claim the title.



Top Performers:

Jordan Joseph: Outstanding in everything he did. He racked up the turnovers, left defenders in his wake with his carries and sent Australian attackers tracking back with a number of thunderous hits.

Arthur Vincent: A menace at the breakdown winning more than 3turnovers in the first half. He was excellent in everything else he did on defence, carrying well and spread the ball superbly.

Harry Wilson: Scored to keep Australia in the game early in the second half. Ran some stellar lines and almost got his captain in for a try with a deft kick that had just too much on it.

Fraser McReight: Another stellar performance from the Aussie captain. He looked like David Pocock at the rucks, nailed attackers with mammoth hits and run stellar support lines. Won 5 turnovers in 75 minutes.

Louis Carbonel: Stellar from the tee and marshalled his troops to victory.

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