England clinch JWC title
England clinch JWC titleSHARE
England were crowned Under-20 world champions after they came from behind to beat Wales 23-15 in the IRB Junior World Championship Final in Vannes on Sunday.
Wales led 15-3 at half-time after Ashley Evans scored a brace but in a match of contrasting halves, England scored 20 unanswered points after the break to power to their maiden IRB Junior World Championship title.
"It’s amazing. It’s the highlight of my career,” said England captain Jack Clifford.
“The Welsh boys came out really hard and took it to us and losing Dom [Barrow] really shook us but the boys gave 100 percent and it’s just amazing to win"
England flyhalf Henry Slade said: "Our defence in the second half we ramped it up a bit, but we conceded two tries in first half. We kept making handling errors in first half, little passes here and there that were not sticking, but we managed to keep the ball and maintain momentum. The key for us was just getting hold of the ball and playing our game, which we did in the second half."
Wales flyhalf Sam Davies was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year.
"The Junior World Championship is a great tournament to play at and I have just taken it one step at a time and I have grown as a player,” said Davies.
"We stuck to our game plan in the first half of the match but England came out strong and just beat us in the second half really. Congratulations to them though."
The Baby Boks completed a remarkable comeback to beat New Zealand 41-34 in a thrilling third-place play-off.
The Junior Boks scored three tries in the space of seven minutes in the first half to throw the game back into the melting pot and then took control in the final half-hour to close out a memorable victory of character and skill.
New Zealand had raced into a 21-0 lead in as many minutes through tries by left wing Lolagi Visinia (2) and No.8 Joe Edwards.
South Africa looked down and out but fought back remarkably, although they had to wait until the 31st minute for their first score. Right wing Luther Obi stepped between two defenders from 10 metres out after good forward drives to restore South African hopes.
The forwards then repeated the dose from a five-metre penalty with tighthead Luan de Bruin profiting this time before Seabelo Senatla intercepted in the New Zealand backline to level the scores (21-21) and complete the three-try burst.
New Zealand fullback Joe Webber scored in the corner with the final move of the first half and a Simon Hickey penalty re-opened the lead to eight points (29-21) six minutes into the second half to once again put the Junior Springboks under pressure. But they responded superbly.
They warmed to their work and, following the sin-binning of flank Jordan Manihera for the killing the ball at the latest of a succession of South African attacks, they began to take an unshakeable hold.
Captain Ruan Steenkamp and replacement flank Kwagga Smith scored tries in the 53rd and 56th minutes to put South Africa into the lead for the first time. Handré Pollard added a penalty to give the Junior Boks a 36-29 lead.
New Zealand added to their own problems when they were reduced to 13 men when replacement prop Kalafi Pongi was sin binned for taking out a man in the air.
However, they were back to 14 when impressive South African scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer collected a pass from Steenkamp at the base of a five-metre scrum to cross in the corner for the decisive score in the 71st minute.
Pollard was unable to convert but South Africa led by 12 points (41-29) and, although Manihera scored a try with three minutes remaining, the Junior Boks maturely controlled the game to the final whistle.
South African captain Steenkamp said: "They came out hard but I said to the boys just keep patient and keep on working hard. All the boys wanted to play New Zealand and I'm really proud of what we did today."
New Zealand captain Ardie Savea felt they left the game slip. "We started off brilliantly, 21 points up and like I guess throughout the tournament we can't just finish it off and finish the teams off, so very disappointed to come fourth," he said.
“I genuinely think it was individual errors and execution [that let them back], we gave some silly penalties away and that let them back into the game, we talked about momentum and I think we gave them momentum and they went from there."
Disappointed New Zealand coach Chris Boyd said: "They came back well and 21-0 up I thought probably was enough to put us in a position to win but it wasn't and credit to South Africa. It [fourth place] is unacceptable, we didn't come to the tournament to finish fourth so we are not happy with that."
In other action, France edged Argentina 37-34 to finish fifth, Australia finished seventh after beating Ireland 28-17, Samoa secured a 33-24 win over Scotland to finish ninth and Fiji beat USA 46-12 in the 11th-place play-off.
Results and scorers:
Wales 15-23 England
Tries: Evans 2
Tries: Nowell, Hill
Cons: Slade 2
Pens: Slade 3
Yellow cards: Dominic Barrow (England, 40)
South Africa 41-34 New Zealand
For South Africa:
Tries: Obi, de Bruin, Senatla, Steenkamp, Smith, Ungerer
Cons: Pollard 4
For New Zealand:
Tries: Visinia 2, Edwards, Webber, Manihera
Cons: Hickey 3
Yellow cards: Jordan Manihera (New Zealand, 52), Kalafi Pongi (New Zealand, 62)
Australia 28-17 Ireland
Tries: Parker, Wells, Northam
Cons: Burton 2
Pens: McIntire, Burton 2
Pens: Scannell 4
Samoa 33-24 Scotland
Tries: Nanai 2, Slater, Fonoti
Cons: Alatimu 2
Pens: Alatimu 3
Tries: Allan, Hoyland, Fergusson
Cons: Allan 3
Yellow card: Melani Nanai (Samoa, 78)
Argentina 34-37 France
Tries: Lezana 2, Matera
Cons: Fernandez 2
Pens: Fernandez 5
Tries: Thomas 2, Jedrasiak,
Cons: Mallet 2
Pens: Selponi, Mallet 3
DG: Mallet 2
Yellow card: Pablo Matera (Argentina, 55)
Fiji 46-12 USA
Tries: Waqa 3, Tuisese, Doge, Vatubua, Rarasea, Kunavore
Cons: Waqa, Douglas
Tries: Toluta’u, Lindell