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Australia prepare for fifth place after NZ grabs fourth spot #JWC2014

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rugby.com.au     11 Jun 2014     Getty Images

Australia narrowly missed out on making the semi-finals of the tournament currently being played in New Zealand, despite finishing 4th on equal points with the host nation. Australia was relegated to the fifth place playoff due to an inferior point differential.

Australia, France, Wales and Samoa will compete in the fifth place semi-finals.

Australia will play Samoa on Sunday 15 June at 12.35 AEST for the opportunity to defend their current fifth place ranking.

Australian Under 20s Head Coach Adrian Thompson said Australia still has a lot to play for.

“Obviously we were disappointed that we didn’t make the semi-finals, especially since we proved we were good enough to be there with our final tournament points total.”

“We will now turn our attention to our match against Samoa. A strong finish this year will assist the Under 20s team of 2015 with their seeding, helping position Australia to perform well at next year’s tournament.

Matt Sandell is a former Australian Schoolboy representative and will still be available for selection for the Under 20s next year. He has been brought into the squad after an injury to Alifeleti Kaitu’u, who has returned to Australia for treatment.

“Matt offers a bit of cover for us as he can play any position in the front row and will be a valuable impact player,” Thompson said.

“He made his first grade debut for Sydney University in the Shute Shield competition last week, so he is match fit and will transition into our squad with ease.”

If the Under 20s are successful in their forthcoming match against Samoa, they will meet the winner of France and Wales who play at 15:35 AEST on Sunday 15 June.