Historic win to Aussie U20’s in nail-biter - Green and Gold Rugby
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Historic win to Aussie U20’s in nail-biter

Historic win to Aussie U20’s in nail-biter

It was a vastly different Australian team that turned out against New Zealand in Game 2 of the Oceania Series at Bond University. Minor changes in personnel in numbers 1 -15 on the field, but major changes in the space between the ears.   Motivated by Head Coach Adrian Thompson’s assessment of the first game on Tuesday night, as ‘unacceptable’, the Australian U20 team, took advantage of a great start, to record a final minute 25-24 win over the New Zealand U20s team.

The Match

Hooker Josh Taylor was quoted in the Gold Coast Bulletin before the game as saying of their opposition – “They are the benchmark, but at the same time we probably paid them a bit too much respect. We’re capable of so much more. We left a lot out there.”

Angus Scott-Young did not take his father's approach during the haka

Angus Scott-Young does not take his father’s approach during the haka

 

This was shown in a more confident start, without any of the simple handling errors that plagued the Australians in humid slippery conditions on Tuesday night. They also showed intent to move the ball wide. After left winger Joey Fittock was pulled down short on one wing, the ball was spread quickly to the other wing for fullback Maddocks to put Simon Kennewell into space and score in the corner. Mack Mason converted from the side-line for a 10-0 lead after 5 minutes.

 

Simon Kennewell scores Australia's first try in the corner

Simon Kennewell scores Australia’s first try in the corner

Simon Kennewell scores Australia's first try in the corner

Simon Kennewell scores Australia’s first try in the corner

The Australians then benefited from a string of penalties, when Mack Mason landed a penalty goal for a 10 – 0 lead. New Zealand then had chances to score, but the Australian defence held them out, and New Zealand elected for a kick at goal from an off-side penalty. 10-3 after 20 minutes.

Australia suffered a set-back, with an injury to Ryan McAuley (30 minutes) replaced by Harley Fox, with Angus Scott-Young moving to lock

Reds squad member Izack Rodda, making his return from injury,  used his bulk to crash over in the corner to extend the Australian lead to 17-3 in the shadows of half-time. The Australian set-piece was also working well, and a line-out steal by No. 7 Liam Wright kept the half-time score at 17-3

Liam Wright steals a line-out

Liam Wright steals a line-out

 

After the half-time, it seemed inevitable that New Zealand would fight back and close the gap, but uncharacteristic handling errors, and strong runs from Maddocks, Rodda and then Fox allowed Joey Fittock to cross in the corner, and put Australia out to a 22-3 lead. When the New Zealand fightback came, it was against the run of play, with Australia unable to capitalize on a great run from Nick Jooste, with NZ fullback Makene scoring at the opposite end a few minutes later. Both teams then made changes, and that paid off for NZ with replacement half-back Nock scoring and Barrett converting. Score 22-17 with 20 minutes to go.

Nick Jooste made the most of his late call-up to the starting team

Nick Jooste made the most of his late call-up to the starting team

Izack Rodda added bulk to the forward pack

Izack Rodda added bulk to the forward pack

Australia then looked like they would be the next team to score, but an intercept and length of the field try by NZ winger Lowe, put paid to that and NZ were in front for the first time (24-22) with 10 minutes to go.

Australia worked their way down field thanks to a good run from Shambekler Vui, but NZ fought straight back through Stephen Perofeta, but pushed passes turned the ball back over to the Australians. The Australians were then able to get in a scoring position one last time thanks to their strong set-piece, and were rewarded with a penalty on the 15-metre line. Mack Mason held his nerve to kick a challenging kick, and Australia had beaten New Zealand for the first time in Under 20s, 25-24.

New Zealand await their fate, as the sun sets

New Zealand await their fate, as the sun sets

Australia celebrate their nail-biting win

Australia celebrate their nail-biting win

 

The Kiwis still had something to smile about though, retaining the Oceania Rugby U20s Championship trophy on aggregate across the two games.

 

Australia U20s all smiles after their first ever win against New Zealand

Australia U20s all smiles after their first win ever against New Zealand

New Zealand retain the Oceania Rugby U20s Championship trophy

New Zealand retain the Oceania Rugby U20s Championship trophy


The Game Changer

The confidence shown by the Australians from the outset, perhaps due to a roasting from Coach Thompson. They held their passes, and sent the ball wide with success.

The G&GR MOTM

Maddocks ran the ball strongly, and kicked well. Tuipolotu and Jooste provided spark in the mid-field. Entire forward pack showed more mongrel than their previous display. But the GAGR MOTM goes to Mack Mason for marshalling the back-line well, and kicking 4 from 5 including the match winner at the death.

Players to Watch

Isack Rodda made a successful return from injury, and added a lot of go-forward. Simon Kennewell also showed the showed the speed which has made him a player to watch in 7’s


The Details

Crowd: Plenty

Score & Scorers

Australia: 25
Tries: Kennewell, Rodda, Fittock
Conversions: Mason (2)
Penalties: Mason (2)
New Zealand: 24
Tries: Makene, Nock, Lowe
Conversions: Barrett (3)
Penalties: Barrett (1)

Cards & citings

None

  • Kiap

    Great result for the lads which gives them something to build on for the big tournament in Manchester.

    And a top report too. Plus many thanks to the bloke who took the photos.

    • HJ managed to take the photos and see enough of the game to write an amazing review.

  • Cammie Chow

    In the photo with the caption “Nick Jooste…”, there is a Kiwi guy on the far right who looks like he should be running around in golden oldies rather than U20s!!

  • MM

    The entire game is here, its worth watching. Some very fine backs coming through the system. http://www.rugby.com.au/en/News/2016/05/06/01/56/Game-2-Australian-U20s-v-New-Zealand-U20s-live-stream

  • Harry

    Some long overdue good news and just watched the game. Queensland boys Mason, Scott-Young, Fittock and Rodda shows their is nothing wrong with the talent coming up . Just need the right coaching environment and leadership. Add in Magney.
    Good luck for the tournament. For once we might be going well prepared … we have been outmuscled in recent years up front but I heard on the commentary that Ledesma has been coaching them in the scrum – good.

    • npivag

      Add in Tuttle (who will probably be captain).

  • Jamie Miller

    Don’t know much about the back up Aussie 9, but he looked totally, utterly out of his depth at this level

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Rugby tragic, who combines his two hobbies of rugby and photography.

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