Scotland under-20 suffered a heavy defeat, 67-12, against a dominant Australian outfit in their opening match of the IRB Junior World Championship in Cape Town today.
Despite two good consolation scores from the Scots, through lock Andrew Redmaybe and winger Jamie Farndale, they were simply unable to match the pace and power of the hugely impressive Australians who ran in 11 tries.
Head coach, Peter Wright, said: “We’re obviously really disappointed. We conceded far too many easy scores and dropped off too many tackles. However, our second try was a quality piece of work from Mark Bennett and Jamie Farndale.
“The young Australian players play at the highest level of the game week in week out therefore the intensity and tempo that they create we are unable to match.
“The players stuck in right to the end though and when they had the ball in hand they showed a lot of threat, particularly on the outside channels. Our line-outs were also strong and well constructed.
“Our challenge now for France is to create as many opportunities for our centres and wingers to utilise as we can and limit the amount of ball that we turnover.”
When the Scots were attacking with ball in hand, centre Mark Bennett’s running was threatening consistently getting over the gain line; Redmayne and hooker Fergus Scott showed their worth in the line-out with dominant jumping and accurate throwing and replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell moved the ball well from the ruck.
At the end of the day, though, it was their defence that let them down and allowed Jed Holloway (2), Nick Frisby, Hugh Roach, James Dargaville, Apolosi Latunipulu, Christopher Sautia-Feauai (2), Curtis Browning, Silatolu Latu and Maile Ngauamo through and over the line. Their efforts were complemented by stand-off Kyle Godwin on four occasions and by replacement Ulupeni Seuteni on two.
Scotland under-20 now face familiar opponents in the shape of France on Friday (8 June) at the University of the Western Cape at 3.45pm (UK time).
Run of play:
Australia won their own kick-off and quickly showed their threat in attack, within the first minute lock Holloway was over. 0-5
The Scots opponents continued to dominate the possession and five minutes later full-back, Frisby had scored with an outrageous side-step good enough to split any defence. Godwin was successful with the second conversion. 0-12
The next two tries came in quick succession with hooker Roach picking up a loose ball and diving over the line, followed by winger Dargaville who scored the bonus point try on 17 minutes. Godwin converted his second attempt. 0-24
The Australians continued their onslaught up until half an hour, with centres Latunipulu and Sautia-Feauai running in two simple tries from 10 metres out. 0-36
With a matter of minutes of the first half left to play, Scotland had their first few chances to place pressure on the Aussies. Leonard kicked to touch and they were set up five metres from their opponent’s line. On the stroke of half-time Dundee HSFP lock Redmayne appeared from the ruck and sneaked his way over the line. Leonard missed the conversion. 5-36
Half-time: Scotland under-20 5-36 Australia under-20
It was relentless stuff from Australia as they chalked up another two scores within 10 minutes of the restart. Both Holloway and Sautia-Feauai crossing the line for their second tries. Godwin converted Holloway’s score. 5-48
15 minutes in and Scotland earned themselves some more possession and again showed their threat when attacking. Bennett tore up the Australians defence gaining 25 yards before offloading to Michael Crawley who was in close support. Crawley drew the last man allowing fellow winger Farndale a clear run at the line. Leonard converted. 12-48
However, that was the last of the Scots scoring and throughout the last 20 minutes Australia managed to touch down three more times. Flanker Browning, prop Latu and replacement prop Ngaumo all putting their names on the scoresheet. Replacement stand-off Seuteni adding the finishing touches to a tough outing for the Scots with two conversions from three.
Full-time: Scotland under-20 12-67 Australia under-20
Scotland under-20 team: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jamie Farndale, Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, Michael Crawley; Harry Leonard (captain), Matt Torrance; Robin Hislop, Fergus Scott, Alex Allan, Mitch Eadie, Andrew Redmayne, Jamie Swanson, Will Bordill, Andrew Nagle.
Replacements: George Turner (for Scott, 60mins), Jamie Bhatti, Gavin Robertson (for Leonard (blood-sub), 62mins), Adam Sinclair (for Nagle, 48mins), Alex Henderon (for Bordill, 56mins), Gary Graham (for Swanson, 48mins), Murray McConnell (for Torrance, 52mins), Tommy Allan (for Russell, 62mins).
Australia under-20 team: Nicholas Frisby; James Dargaville, Christopher Sautia-Feauai, Apolosi Latunipulu, Allan Faalaavau; Kyle Godwin, Matt Lucas; Silatolu Latu, Hugh Roach, Leslie Makin, Jed Holloway, Steve Cummins, Curtis Browning, Liam Gill (captain), Benn Melrose.
Replacements: Maile Ngauamo, Pettowa Paraka, Sam Reiser, Tom Cusack, Jock Merriman, Con Foley, Ulupeni Seuteni, Allan Alaalatoa.