Debutants triumph in Junior Wallabies first win of 2019.

· Oceanic U20s Championship
by Rugby Australia

The Junior Wallabies have commenced their 2019 season on a high defeating Junior Japan 64-14.

Australia scored 10 tries to Japan’s 2 tonight at Bond University on the Gold Coast in round one of the Oceania U20s Championship. With vice-captain Will Harrison leading the scoring with 21 (1T, 7C) points across the eighty minutes.

Junior Wallabies Head Coach Jason Gilmore said: “It’s great to be able to play our first match of the year against Japan as well as have the ability to blood some of our new players.

“The boys will take a lot of learnings out of tonight's match, and we’ll look to use them as we prepare for our next game against Fiji.” Gilmore said.

The Junior Wallabies will take on the Fijian U20s in round two of the Championship kicking off at 5:00pm (AEST) on Tuesday, April 30.

In other results the New Zealand U20s defeated the Fijian U20s 53-7 in the first match of the day.

Commencing the first half receiving the ball the Australians struck hard and fast. Their first points came at the hands of Junior Wallabies debutant Triston Reilly out on the wing. This came as a result of several moments of disciplined and a methodical attack from the men in Gold. Stalwart Will Harrison quickly slotted the extras extending the Australians lead 7-0, two minutes into the match.

After several phases of Japanese possession, a strong tackle off the line from Angus Bell saw the Japanese side quickly turn the ball over, with a subsequent scrum to the Australians allowing for Mark Nawaqanitawase to run hard at the Japanese line. However, their disciplined defensive efforts saw the turnover. Nawaqanitawase tried to break the line again but the Japan side held him out for a second time, it was his third strike off the back of an Australian scrum that saw the quick-footed winger, scoring on his Junior Wallabies debut. Will Harrison continued with his pinpoint accuracy furthering the Australian lead 14-0.

Noah Lolesio was next to have his say for the Junior Wallabies on debut. Isaac Lucas regathered the ball off an exit play from Japan, a with a follow-up piece of inside ball from flyhalf Will Harrison, Lolesio’s took the ball and broke the Japanese line, extending the score 19-0. Harry Wilson was next to follow of the back of another powerful line break from speedster Triston Reilly taking the score to 24-0.

A strong Japanese offensive saw the Junior Wallabies on the backfoot deep in their own 22m until a turnover saw Lucas kick the ball into the hands of Triston Reilly. From here the ball then found its way into the hands of captain Fraser McReight who crossed next with Will Harrison again adding the extras extending the score to 31-0.

However, it was Japan who would strike next with Tomoki Osada intercepting the Australian ball on the halfway, a powerful chase from the Junior Wallabies ensued however Osada was too quick and crossed under the sticks, Rintaro Maruyama added the extras seeing the score 31-7.

A strong maul from the Australians saw Trevor Hosea take the ball to ground cross over ending the half with the Junior Wallabies heading into the sheds up 36-7.

The Junior Wallabies kicked off in the second half however it wasn’t too long before they regained possession again, coach Jason Gilmore electing to maintain with his strong starting side. The ball would pass through the hands of Angus Bell, Will Harris and Isaac Lucas before Will Harrison took the ball over the line in the corner. Harrison would the convert his own try taking the score to 43-7.

Following this Liam User took to the field, making his debut for the Junior Wallabies replacing Angus Bell 10 minutes into the second half.

After a fierce battle that was back and forth Junior Wallabies captain Fraser McReight crossed again in the corner, Will Harrison continued with his accuracy extending the Australian’s lead 50-7. Following the try; Darcy Breen, Sione Tui, Michael McDonald took to the field making their debuts alongside Junior Wallabies stalwart Michael Wood replacing Josh Nasser, Triston Reilly, Henry Robertson and Esei Ha’angana.

Following several unsuccessful attempts from the Japanese to break a tough Australian defensive, Gilmore added to his changes, this time ushering Pat Tafa, Ben Donaldson and Carlo Tizzano to the field, replacing some of the sides heavy hitters including Isaac Lucas, Will Harris and captain Fraser McReight.

Japan’s Tomoki Asada would be next to cross the line in a tightly contested second half with Rintaro Maruyama again adding the extras to take the score to 50-14 with 10 minutes left on the clock.

With only 14 men on the field due to injury, debutant Nawaqanitawase again stepped up intercepting the Japanese ball on halfway to run the length and cross the line, Will Harrison continued to add the extras furthering the lead 57-14.