England to face South Africa in final
June 15, 2014
England's Harry Sloan powers over for a try © Getty Images
England have one more hurdle to clear in the defence of their Junior World Championship crown after comfortably dispatching Ireland to make it through to the final.
Most of the damage was done in the first half of the 42-15 victory, with England running in four unanswered tries before the break. Harry Sloan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Howard Packman and Tom Woolstencroft were the men who crossed in the first period, with Gus Jones touching down in the second half to make it five tries for the reigning champions.
Ireland staged a fightback of sorts, rallying to produce two tries of their own after the half-time break. Garry Ringrose and Alex Wootton were the try-scorers who restored an element of Irish pride, but in truth they were little more than consolation scores as England marched on to their third final in four years.
Their opponents in Friday's final will be South Africa, who came emerged victors from an enthralling 32-25 encounter with New Zealand.
The All Blacks took the lead with a try inside five minutes as the match started at a frenetic pace. Working the ball through the backs, New Zealand found Hame Faiva out wide and the hooker went over to open the scoring. South Africa however struck back quickly, with captain Handre Pollard crossing to kick-start what developed into an outstanding evening for the fly-half.
South Africa powered on, scoring a further three tries in the fiercely competitive affair. Sergeal Petersen, Andre Esterhuizen and Corniel Els were the Springboks who touched down, while New Zealand fought back through tries from Tevita Li and Vincent Tavae-Aso. The tense match was poised to go to extra-time before Els' late try broke All-Black hearts, sending the Springboks through to Friday's shoot-out.
France's Ivan Roux looks to offload © Getty Images
The French out-scored their European rivals in the try count but were grateful for a lack of accuracy from the boot of Welsh fly-half Angus O'Brien. The No.10 missed a penalty at the death which would have secured victory for Wales, meaning last year's runners-up finish the 2014 edition in disappointing fashion.
France stunned Wales early on with a try inside two minutes, Jean Thomas crossing for the first of three French tries. Further scores came from Tommy Raynaud and Jean Baptiste Singer.
Make no mistake however, Wales ran France extremely close. Welsh tries came through Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan, but it was O'Brien who felt the glare of the spotlight as his kicking game faltered and Wales lost in the narrowest of fashions.
Wing Andrew Kellaway stole the show as Australia booked their place in the fifth-place play-off with a 53-16 thumping of Samoa.
Kellaway crossed the whitewash four times to equal the record for the most individual tries in a Junior World Championship match, while his tally of eight for the tournament ties the record for individual scores in a single campaign.
The Wallabies managed eight tries in all, adding to the four of Kellaway with efforts from Jimmy Stewart, Lalakai Foketi and two from Brad Lacey. Samoa put up a belated fight as the second-half drew to a close, scoring two late tries via Iafeta Luamanu and Sootala Fa'aso'o, but by then they had been blown away by the rampant Australians.
Darcy Rae makes a break for Scotland © Getty Images
Italy started the stronger of the two sides, scoring the only try of the first half thanks to Daniele Di Giulio. They could have gone into the half-time break with an even more comfortable lead had Filippo Buscema been more accurate with the boot, the captain missing the trinity of a penalty, drop goal and conversion as Italy failed to capitalise fully on their early dominance.
Scotland regrouped for the second half and scored their first points within five minutes of the restart, James Ritchie the man going over for the first of three Scottish tries. Further scores came from Neil Irvine-Hess and Darcy Rae, with Renato Giammarioli snatching one back for the Italians. While Scotland were much improved in the second half, they also enjoyed a slice of luck as Buscema missed a penalty at the death, which would have taken the match into extra time.
Argentina withstood a second-half surge by Fiji to win 38-12 in the first match of the Junior World Championships' semi-finals day.
The Pumas dominated the opening half, scoring two tries as the prevented Fiji from registering a single point on the scoreboard. Their first score was in fact a penalty try, awarded after chaos at the scrum which also saw Fijian flanker Vasikali Mudu sin-binned. Argentina's second came thanks to Santiago Alvarez and captain Patricio Fernandez slotted the conversion to become the leading points scorer in Junior World Championship history - a record that fell just seven hours later to South Africa's Handre Pollard.
Fiji steeled themselves for the second period but had to wait until the 64th minute to score the first of their two consolation tries through Wilisoni Lagi. Tubuka Vueti was the other Pacific Islander on the scoresheet, but despite scoring two, Fiji conceded a further three. Argentina's Facundo Gigena, German Schulz and Lautaro Bazan Velez all touched down to ensure a comfortable victory for the South Americans
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape