Junior Wallabies remain undefeated at Oceania U20s Championship

· Oceanic U20s Championship
by Rugby Australia
The Junior Wallabies have continued their undefeated Oceania U20s campaign after keeping Fijian U20s scoreless in a 16-0 victory.

Australian captain Michael McDonald kicked 11 points at Bond University on the Gold Coast to earn back-to-back wins at the Oceania U20s Championship.

Junior Wallabies Head Coach Jason Gilmore said: “Tonight was a tough, hard-fought win in unfavourable conditions.

“To leave a side like Fiji scoreless was pleasing however we will build on this as our preparation looks towards our final match against New Zealand.

“New Zealand put in a good performance today and the boys are excited for Saturday night.”

The Junior Wallabies now take on New Zealand U20s in the final match of the Oceania U20 Championship, kicking off on Saturday, May 4 at 7:00pm (AEST).

The New Zealand U20s also maintained their perfect start after defeating Junior Japan 87-12 in the first match of the day.

The Australian U20s received the ball off the kick off but they battled to maintain possession in the opening moments of the first half. It was a tight back-and-forth contest with the Fijians missing two kicks at goal as the first-half reached its midpoint.

The Junior Wallabies forced several handling errors from the Fijians and gained a scrum 10 metres out from the Fijian line. Pat Tafa broke off the back of the Australian scrum however a robust Fijian defence held him up over the line but that only gave the Junior Wallabies a chance to strike again. Tafa took the ball off the back of the scrum again and was passed through the hands to Western Australia’s Michael Wood, who crossed the line in what would be the only try of the night. Captain Michael McDonald added the extras to give Australia a 7-0 lead.

The Fijians quickly retaliated though as they pounded the Australian line but their attack was no match for the wall of gold they encountered with the Junior Wallabies earning a pressure-relieving penalty. Both teams had unsuccessful attacking raids to leave Australia with a narrow 7-nil lead at half-time.

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore made three changes at the break with Mark Nawaqanitawase, Noah Lolesio and Will Harrison taking to the field, replacing Byron Ralston, Semisi Tupou and Isaac Lucas, as rain began to fall on the Gold Coast.

McDonald scored the first points of the second half, as the skipper pointed at the posts to give Australia a 10-nil buffer. A sin-binning for Joe Cotton left Australia down to 14 but fresh legs from Gilmore kept Fiji at bay as Egan Siggs, Tom Kibble and Pat Tafa made their way from the field to be replaced by Lachlan Lonergan, Nathan Lawson and Bo Abra.

McDonald lined up another penalty kick at goal to extend the score to 13-0 as the strong Australian defence continued. The Junior Wallabies continued to hold the Fijian side out, forcing several handling errors to win back the ball.

A powerful Australian scrum was rewarded in the second half and McDonald made no mistake from the kicking tee to open up a 16-nil lead in what closed out the match.

ENDS