New Zealand Under 20 lift Oceania crown

Oceania Rugby

Matiu Workman     05 May 2018     Oceania Rugby

The Craig Philpott-coached side conceded the first points through an intercept to Australian wing Matt McTaggert, which sparked the Bond University Rugby Club on the Gold Coast to life.

It did not take the three-time defending champions to kick in to gear, scoring three tries and 24 unanswered points en route to a 24-7 half-time lead.

Hindered by captain Ryan Lonergan’s yellow card after 36 minutes, Australia conceded tries immediately before and after half-time to all but end their hopes.
Australia showed dominance at scrumtime throughout the match, however it was the superior finishing power that gave New Zealand a six-tries-to-four win. 

The result means the New Zealand Under-20 side has won every championship since they were first held in 2015.

The Australian Under-20 team got their championship hopes off to the best possible start with an intercept try within the first 10 minutes.

New Zealand first five-eighths Kaleb Trask tried to find centre Tanielu Tele’a with a long pass only for McTaggert, an Australian sevens player, to dot down under the posts.

The celebrations barely finished by the time New Zealand responded through captain Tom Christie after some persistent pressure on the Australian line.
In his starting debut for the defending champions, fullback Vilimoni Koroi showed his talent to set up halfback Jay Renton for the New Zealand Under-20 side’s second try.

From a standing start, the New Zealand sevens star evaded three defenders and pushed through another before finding the Southland halfback and handing New Zealand the lead.

Australia captain Ryan Lonergan was yellow carded late in the first half for failing to roll away when New Zealand were on attack.

Otago hooker Cody Jackson scored either side of half-time to extend New Zealand’s advantage to 31-7 early in the second half.

Australia looked to show some fight with a converted try to fullback Mack Hanson, but Philpott’s men responded immediately with quick tries to wing Leicester Faingaanuku and Christie’s second to hold a 43-14 lead with 25 minutes to play.

A piece of individual brilliance from Tate McDermott, who evaded three defenders at speed, gave Australian supporters at Bond University something to smile about.

Fittingly, Australia finished the match with a consolation try to No.8 Josh Kemeny from the back of a dominant scrum to close the gap to 43-28.

New Zealand Under 20 43 (Ricky Jackson 2; Tom Christie, Leicester Faingaanuku, Jay Renton, Tom Christie tries; Harry Plummer 5 con, pen) Australia Under 20 28 (Josh Kemeny, Tate McDermott, Mack Hanson, Matt McTaggert tries; Ryan Lonergan con, Isaac Lucas 3 con). HT: 24-7.