Southern giants fall in JWC
Wales will play England in the first-ever all-Northern Hemisphere IRB Junior World Championship Final in France on Sunday.
Wales will play England in the first-ever all-Northern Hemisphere IRB Junior World Championship Final in France on Sunday!
On a day of high drama Wales defeated defending champions South Africa 18-17 with a last-minute try at Stade de la Rabine, Vannes, and England saw off last year's beaten finalists New Zealand 33-21 in the late match at the same venue.
In other action, two late tries gave Samoa a nailbiting 19-18 win over Fiji and Scotland ensured they will be at JWC 2014 in new Zealand by beating the United States 39-3 in their respective ninth-place semifinals.
France got a one-point win (9-8) against Ireland and Argentina claimed a 22-15 win over Australia in the fifth-place play-offs.
* In the early semifinal, a match that ebbed and flowed, South Africa looked to have the game in the bag at 17-11.
But with 90 seconds remaining, Wales flyhalf Sam Davies chipped in behind the Baby Bok defence and wing Ashley Evans collected to score near the right-hand corner.
In-form Davies stepped up and coolly slotted the conversion to break Baby Bok hearts and guide Wales to their first ever Junior World Championship Final.
In a tense semifinal showdown, Wales used their rush defence to put the defending champions under pressure. The Welsh pack had the ascendency and on 20 minutes Davies slotted a penalty for Wales to put the first points on the board.
Nine minutes later, Davies doubled the lead with his second penalty but the Baby Boks landed a telling blow when they made the most of a lapse in concentration by Wales just before half-time.
A quick line-out to the front five metres from the Welsh line saw lock Irné Herbst stroll over unopposed by the Welsh defence for the opening try. Centre Handré Pollard slotted the conversion, which saw the Baby Boks lead 7-6 at the break.
Wales regained the lead in the 55th minute when Ellis Jenkins scored a fortuitous try after a strong period of play. The Welsh captain had appeared to have to dropped the ball in contact over the line but the try was awarded.
Davies missed the conversion and the Baby Boks hit back almost immediately when a long pass by Pollard found replacement Albertus Smith, who beat two defenders to score. Pollard’s conversion made it 14-11 heading into the final quarter.
With Wales tiring at the death, Pollard kicked a penalty to put the Baby Boks six points up with six minutes before some brilliant vision and composure from Davies snatched victory for Wales.
* In the second semifinal it was a a 74th minute try to Tom Smallbone that helped England stun New Zealand.
Smallbone's five pointer was awarded on video review by the TMO, from a ruck near the NZ line.
Until then, NZ were well in the match, having clawed their way back from a 12-point half-time deficit to trail just 21-23.
Highlanders' midfielder Jason Emery revived NZ's hopes with a try midway through the second spell after the Kiwis had fallen behind by 15 early in the second half.
After England opened the scoring with a penalty New Zealand hit back through hooker Hame Faiva's five-pointer to briefly take the lead.
But another penalty allowed England to go back in front and two long range tries to Matt Hankin and Anthony Watson extended their advantage to 15 just before the break.
A Simon Hickey penalty at the end of the first half narrowed the gap but left Kiwi captain Ardie Savea with plenty of thinking to do.
The result mirrored the All Blacks' shock loss to England at Twickenham late last year, when, like the Under-20s, they were also hot favourites.
Results and scorers:
South Africa 17-18 Wales
For South Africa:
Tries: Herbst, Smith
Cons: Pollard 2
Tries: Ellis, Evans
Pens: Davies 2
New Zealand 21-33 England
For New Zealand:
Tries: Faiva, Emery
Con: Te Rure
Pens: Hickey, Te Rure 2
Tries: Hankin, Watson, Penalty try
Cons: Slade 3
Pens: Slade 4
Argentina 22-15 Australia
Tries: Fernandez 2, Schulz
Cons: Fernandez 2
Tries: Latu, Paraka
Yellow cards: Jack Dempsey (Australia, 31), Pablo Matera (Argentina, 80)
Ireland 8-9 France
Pens: Serin 3
Samoa 19-18 Fiji
Tries: Solia, Ah Ki
Pens: Alatimu 3
Tries: Waqa, Rokoduru
Pens: Waqa 2
Scotland 39-3 United States
Tries: Steele, Bennett 2, Kilmartin, Auld
Cons: Bennett 4
Pens: Bennett 2
For the United States: