Agonising near miss for Junior Wallabies but hopes high for World Cup


The Junior Wallabies fell one-point short of a sweep of their two match series against New Zealand Under-20s in Wellington on Saturday.

After their eight-point victory over the Kiwis on Monday, the Aussies had every chance before falling 19-18 on Saturday.

While the Australians dominated and were disappointed with the result, it was a promising foray to NZ ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship, which kicks off in South Africa in three weeks.

The Australian squad will be announced next week before a final hit-out against a Barbarians outfit on 14 June in Sydney.

Junior Wallabies captain Teddy Wilson said the team understood the need to more frequently convert possession into points.

Teddy Wilson of Australia looks to pass . (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

“Our set piece is great and that gives us that front-foot ball. We need to be better off the back of that,” he said.

“Both games have been very physical so I’ve been very proud of the boys’ defence. They’ve fronted up in both games. That was a big thing for us.”

After an opening stanza spent camped in New Zealand territory, Junior Wallabies playmaker Jack Bowen got the scoring started on Saturday with a penalty goal in the 15th minute.

The Kiwis hit back within five minutes as fullback Harry Godfrey kicked across field for winger Caleb Tangitau to touch down.

A scrum penalty in the 26th minute gave Bowen and the Junior Wallabies another three points.

However New Zealand pulled away again in the 30th minute as slick hands found space on the left edge and winger Macca Springer dived over.

Tangitau grabbed his second try just before the break as he stepped through some scrambling Aussie defence.

While the attempted conversion sailed wide, the Kiwis enjoyed a 19-6 lead at half-time.

Starting the second half like they did the first – camped in New Zealand territory – the Junior Wallabies finally got over the try-line in the 55th minute through prop Massimo De Lutiis.

Ten minutes later the Aussies cut the Kiwis’ lead to just one point as a chip over the top from Bowen was reeled in by outside centre Henry O’Donnell.

However the Junior Wallabies couldn’t quite find the decisive play in the closing moments and New Zealand held on for the victory.

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