Gritty Scots unable to overcome clinical Wallabies

Scotland under-20 failed to capitalise on their 7-5 first-half lead as they went down 31-21 to their Australian counterparts in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship 5th place semi-final.

Jamie Ritchie takes a lineout ball

A 20minute defensive lapse from the Scots allowed Australia to cross the line on four occasions and establish a healthy 31-7 in the second-half.

Scotland fought back in the final ten minutes of the game, battling to within 10 points of the Wallabies, and being awarded two tries yet it wasn’t enough  to claim the victory. 

Alec Coombes gave Scotland an early lead with a try in the sixth minute, feeding off the efforts of work-horse back-row Magnus Bradbury and his centre partner Patrick Kelly.

The prolific boot of Blair Kinghorn was on target once again to provide the extras and establish an early lead for the Scots (7-0).

Opposition full-back Jonah Placid produced a fantastic solo attack to cross the line against the run of play in the 25th minute. The failed conversion from stand-off Andrew Deegan kept Scotland’s narrow two-point lead intact (7-5).

As half-time approached, Scotland looked as though they were going to add to their tally, when Robbie Nairn stormed up the wing with intent. Only a last-ditch tackle from Austrlian skipper Andrew Kellaway would being an end to the attack.

Blair Kinghorn missed the target with his second attempt at goal, failing to take Scotland into double figures before the close of the half.

Half-time: Scotland under-20 7 v 5 Australia under-20 

Australia came out of the tunnel after the break firing on all cylinders, scoring two tries from lock Lukan Lealaialoto-tui and replacement front-row Connal McInerney within the opening five minutes, both from forward drives.

Deegan failed in his first of the two conversion attempts, yet was able to add the extras to McInerney’s score (7-17). 

Scotland were soon after reduced to 14 men as stand-off Rory Hutchinson was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. 

Taking advantage of their extra man, Australia continued to pile on the points with Placid crossing the line to score his second try of the game, before prop Matt Sandall added his name to the scoresheet minutes later.

Deegan was accurate with the both kicks to take the score to 31-7 in favour of the men in gold.

Scotland continued to battle to the final whistle as wing Richard Galloway scored his second try in as many games, finishing off some patient phase play from the Dark Blues after 75 miuntes – scrum-half George Horne duly adding the extras.  

As the clock past the 80-minute mark, Scotland again found themselves on the scoreboard, as they were awarded with a penalty try for an Australian offence at the maul.

Horne dinked over the conversion attempt to put Scotland to within ten points as the final whistle sounded. 

Full-time: Scotland under-20 (7) 21 v 31 (5) Australia under-20

Scotland under-20 v Australia under-20, World Rugby Under-20 Championship, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano, Monday 15 June

Scotland under-20: Blair Kinghorn; Robbie Nairn, Alec Coombes, Patrick Kelly, Richard Galloway; Rory Hutchinson, Ben Vellacott; Dan Elkington, Ross Graham, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Andrew Davidson, Lewis Wynne, Jamie Ritchie CAPTAIN and Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Sam James, Callum Sheldon, Jack Owlett, Ally Miller, Ruaridh Knott, George Horne, Tom Galbraith and Archie Russell.

Australia under-20: Jonah Placid; Alex Newsome, Sione Tuipolotu, Duncan Paia’aua, Andrew Kellaway CAPTAIN; Andrew Deegan, James Tuttle; Fereti Saaga, Folau Faingaa, Matt Sandall, Riley Winter, Lukan Lealaialoto-Tui, Ned Hanigan, Michael Gunn and Adam Korczyk.

Replacements: Cameron Orr, Connal McInerney, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Croke, Olly Kamp, Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa, James Dalgleish and Campbell Magnay.