Australia 81-12 Canada
Australia laid down an impressive marker for the rest of the IRB Junior World Championship as they overwhelmed a plucky Canadian team 81-12 on a cool, dry afternoon at Rodney Parade in Newport on Friday.
The win was based on a significant power advantage up front with Canada simply unable to regularly secure their own possession and backed up by slick hands and pace across the backline.
The game was effectively over as a contest in the first quarter with Australia, led from the front by their impressive skipper David Pocock, already having run in four converted tries – through Pocock, Ben McCalman, Rob Horne and James Hanson – despite some valiant Canadian defence.
Canadian heads never dropped, however, and they enjoyed a good spell on the half hour with scrum half Sean White prominent and their reward was a try for centre Matt Evans.
However, the Australians put their collective foot straight back onto the gas and ran in two more tries through Ratu Nasiganiyavi and Dane Haylett-Petty before the break for a 45-5 lead at half time.
A number of half-time replacements affected the cohesion of the Australian play for a while yet they opened the second half with two more tries in the first 10 minutes through McCalman and Nasiganiyavi before the ever willing White responded as he wriggled over from a quick tap penalty.
Despite the number of tackles they had made throughout the game, the Canadians refused to wilt until four late tries – including a double from replacement Junior Sovala Futi – completed the job for Australia.
Australian wing Nasiganiyavi caught the eye with his two well taken long tries and generally looked menacing every time he gained possession, while full back Haylett-Petty weighed in with four tries.
Australia Head Coach Brian Melrose: “It was a good start and good to come away without any bad injuries as we had a bad week losing a couple of backs. It’s good to get off the mark and we’ve got a line in the sand now but we do need to make improvements in some areas.”
Australia Captain David Pocock: “It’s the first game in a while that we’ve all played together so it was a good first hit out. There were plenty of positives, we scored plenty of tries but there’s plenty to work on in the next few days.”
Canada Head Coach Tim Murdy: “I think there was a little bit of awe factor early on in the game and we tried to avoid that but we were a little overwhelmed by the Australian pace and pressure. We let ourselves down with a few errors but it wasn’t down to lack of effort.”
Canada Captain Nathan Hirayama: “We came out a bit flat and started slowly and you can’t afford to do that against a team of this calibre. We know now that we can play at this level but we can’t afford any loss of intensity because you get punished ruthlessly.”