JWC 2010: Play-offs Review

(IRB.COM) Thursday 17 June 2010
 
 JWC 2010: Play-offs Review
Fernando Luna was Argentina's hero against Wales - Photo: Eduardo Seval/IRB

Argentina stole the headlines on the day by winning the kicking competition 9-8 against Wales after their encounter at finished 19-19. They will now play France for fifth place on Sunday in Santa Fe.

Meanwhile in Parana, Ireland and Scotland know their places in the IRB Junior World Championship 2011 in Italy are safe after overcoming Samoa and Tonga respectively in the battle for places from ninth to 12th.

FIFTH - EIGHTH PLACES

ARGENTINA 19-19 WALES (ARGENTINA WIN 9-8 AFTER KICKING COMPETITION)

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Fernando Luna emerged as Argentina's hero after holding his nerve to slot the 18th attempt in the kicking competition to give the IRB Junior World Championship 2010 hosts victory over Wales.

The two sides had been locked at 19-19 after normal time and so, with a winner needed in the play-off matches, the sudden death extra time began at the Estadio CA Colon in Santa Fe.

Argentina fly half Ignacio Rodriguez Muedra missed with two attempted drop goals in the first period of extra time, before his opposite number Matthew Jarvis and fellow replacement Ashley Beck saw their efforts sail wide in the second.

With neither side able to break the deadlock it was left to a kicking competition to decide the winner, the first time this has ever had to be used in the history of the Junior World Championship.

Beck, wing Kristian Phillips, full back Dan Fish, scrum half Rhys Downes and Jarvis took on the responsibility for Wales, with Federico Miranda, Pedro Mercerat, Rodriguez Muedra, Luna and Brian Ormson the players nominated by Argentina.

The kick off competition involved three positions, all of them on the 22-metre line - the first in front of the posts, the second on the left facing the posts and the other on the right - which were worked through in sequence.

The first eight kicks by both sides were successful, but scrum half Downes missed his kick from the right-hand side to leave Luna with the pressure kick to win the match for Argentina.

Luna, who had only been called into the side last week as an injury replacement, kicked his effort from the same position to spark celebrations from the partisan crowd with Argentina declared winners by 9-8 on kicks.

The two sides had begun the match with similar approaches, electing to focus on a forward-orientated game and deny their opponents scoring opportunities with solid defence, and as a result it took a while for the excitement to build.

Wales went in leading 6-3 at half time after Steve Shingler kicked two to Santiago Mendez's one penalty, the Los Pumitas' scrum half missing with two penalty attempts and Rodriguez Muedra with a drop goal.

Mendez edged Argentina in front again with a penalty within minutes of the restart, only for a Shingler penalty and try by Downes to give Wales a 16-6 advantage. Replacement hooker Alexis Barone quickly crossed for Argentina's try to cut the deficit to three points again.

Rodriguez Muedra levelled the scores once more but Jarvis' kick appeared to have snatched the win for Wales, only for the Argentina fly half to calmly kick another penalty to tie the match at 19-19 and pave the way for the exciting conclusion to the match.

POST MATCH REACTION

Argentina coach Rolando Martin: "The guys made a great effort. They're exhausted, they played a great game. We're thrilled and we really enjoyed it. Luckily we did something we haven't done during the whole tournament, kick to the posts. The most important thing now is to gather energy, we're exhausted by the guys have great self-esteem."

Wales manager Tony Clement: All credit to Argentina. I felt their forward pack took it to us and maintained the ball and their scrummage was very strong and the game was very, very close for 80 minutes. Obviously, we are disappointed we didn't convert more points in normal time. Extra time was exciting and the kicking shoot-out can go either way. Congratulations to Argentina."

FRANCE 44-9 FIJI

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France have guaranteed themselves a top six finish for the third year in a row after overcoming a persistent Fijian side 44-9 at the Estadio CA Colon in Santa Fe on day four of the IRB Junior World Championship 2010.

Inclement weather conditions meant Fiji struggled against the powerful French side with Philippe Bosher's men consolidating their solid first half performance to run riot in the second.

The effort proved too much for the Fijians who, despite being presented with several opportunities, failed to capitalise, adding only three points to their tally after the break.

Fiji fly half Josh Matavesi opened the scoring when he spotted an opportunity for a drop goal after just eight minutes. Two minutes later his opposite number Gilles Bosch kicked the first of his 19 points with Matavesi responding in kind inside the opening quarter.

While ill discipline gave France plenty of chance to build on their lead, Fiji's strong defence meant it took until the 29th minute to score their first try. In the end it took a lineout win by Jean Sousa to set up a rolling maul with prop Benjamin Geledan forcing his way across the line.

Bosch kicked the conversion and later a penalty to send France in with 13-6 lead at half time.

The second half bore witness to a much more fluid game by the French with Matavesi's second penalty in the 44th minute signalling an end to the Fijian scoring.

Number 8 Antoine Erbani, son of former French international Dominique, grounded a try early in the second half after spotting a gap, with wing Clément Lagain following suit a short time later.

Erbani crossed for his second late in the game, with wing Hugo Bonneval adding the final try five pointer in the dying minutes, Bosch converting both tries to cement the win.

POST MATCH REACTON:

France coach Philippe Boher: "It was a strong game because we started badly, we lost many balls in the first half and Fiji had a sweet try occasion and scored some penalties. We had to try to rebuild a good first half with not many balls and at the end it was very disappointing. After that we had a very good second half. At the beginning we played our game. We had good movements and we scored two tries so I prefer to remember the second part of the game.

I think against Argentina will be different. They want to beat us because they were very frustrated after the first game and we want to compete for the fifth place so we will prepare very seriously."

Fiji coach Eroni Vereivalu: "We started off very well in the first half. In the first 10 to 20 minutes we dominated and the boys were settled. Towards the last 10 minutes, France rampaged the Fijian defence and they scored four tries towards the last quarter of the game.

The boys had given everything in the game against Samoa last week and hopefully we will regroup for the game against Wales. There are a lot of areas in which we need to look into. You can see today that France really exposed us in defence as it was pathetic, as well as our discipline. We gave away some soft tries in lieu of our defence and indiscipline.

NINTH TO 12TH PLACES

IRELAND 37-10 SAMOA

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Ireland have assured themselves of a top 10 placing after overcoming an early Samoan onslaught to defeat the islanders 37-10 on day four of the IRB Junior World Championship 2010 in Parana.

Seeking their first win of the tournament, the Under 20 Six Nation champions stamped their authority over much of the match, dominating in the both the scrums and lineouts while controlling the majority of the ball.

It was not all one-way traffic though with the powerful Samoan forwards making their presence felt at the breakdown, testing the Ireland tight-five and severely hampering Ireland's efforts to convert possession into points.

Ireland fly half Noel Reid opened the scoreboard just three minutes gone, following an early indiscretion by Samoa. Despite some innovative play by number 8 Paddy Butler, Ireland were unable to stretch their lead with a Patrick Fa'apale penalty in the fifth minute levelling the score.

Ireland managed to control possession for much of the next 10 minutes with Reid sending another through the posts. Captain Niall Annett was next to put his hand, dotting down after an Irish maul exposed a gap in the Samoan defence, Reid's conversion pushing them out to a 13-6 lead.

Samoa kept challenging and seven minutes later their efforts were finally rewarded when a rolling maul found its way across the line for a try by replacement hooker Tony Keresoma. Ireland were quick to reply with full back Andrew Conway dotting down just moments later to give his side an 18-10 half-time.

Much of the second half mirrored the first with Ireland's strong attacking play outclassing the spirited defence of the Joshua Tyrell-led side, who were unable to add to their first half tally.

Reid was again in the thick of it early in the second half when he fired a missile into the hands of teammate Andrew Boyle, who out sprinted the tiring Samoan defence to get his first try.

Boyle thrived in the heat of battle, dotting down for his second try just two minutes after teammate Eoin Griffin crossed the line late in the game.

POST MATCH REACTION:

Ireland coach Allen Clarke: "It was important for us as a group to get a win. We played some good rugby in the tournament and we came out of a tough group where we were on the end of three defeats. We were a young side, eight of this squad are available for next season so we had eight Under 19s on the field today and that bodes well for next season."

Ireland captain Niall Annett: "I think we can be happy enough. There were certainly aspects where we could get better but on the whole to get a 37-10 victory over Samoa is a good result so we can be happy."

Samoa assistant coach Set Tuilaepa: "I think Scotland played well in this game as we had a lot of mistakes and a lot of lost ball. I think Scotland played well and there was a lot of things they did well so afterwards it was a little bit disappointing for the team because we made a lot of mistakes. We look forward to the our last game because we need to win to set us up for next year."

Samoa captain Joshua Tyrell: "I thought we did really terrible, especially in our defence. Ireland were a good team, they came out to play. At the end of the day they played the whole 80 minutes. We played good during patches but at the end of the day Ireland played well during the whole 80 minutes.

SCOTLAND 28-8 TONGA

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Scotland overcame Tonga for the second time in five days at the Club Atletico Estudiantes in Parana on Thursday to guarantee their place in next year's IRB Junior World Championship in Italy.

The Scots had come out on top 27-3 when the two sides met on the final day of the pool stages of the Under 20 tournament in Argentina, although this time the Tongans did manage to cross the try-line in losing 28-8.

Just as in their previous meeting, Scotland made the most of their scoring opportunities, distributing clean, tidy ball and responding efficiently to the commanding cries of captain Stuart McInally.

While Scotland were never in danger of losing, the final score may have been a little closer had it not been for Samoa scum half Manu Soatame having an off-day with the boot, missing with two penalties and one conversion.

By comparison Scottish fly half Duncan Weir kicked all three of his penalties and converted two of his side's three tries for a personal haul of 13 points.

Scotland took just three minutes to open the scoring with Weir's first penalty, which was followed moments later a try from McInally. Tonga, though, responded almost immediately with a Scotland indiscretion allowing Soatame to kick his only points of the game.

Weir's penalties helped give Scotland a 16-3 lead at half-time, but it took only 10 minutes after the break for replacement wing Michael Tait to cross his side's second try. Tait's efforts clearly inspired the front row with hooker Alun Walker also touching down eight minutes later.

Displaying more cohesion towards the latter stages of the game, Tonga were rewarded with a try from Mone Latu, the prop driving over the line following a maul off a lineout.

Scotland can now look forward to a meeting with Six Nations champions Ireland in the ninth place play-off, while Tonga face Samoa with the loser knowing they will be relegated to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2011.

POST MATCH REACTION:

Scotland captain Stuart McInally: "I was very pleased with today's performance, I felt there was a lot of good stuff. The important thing for me was that we won, we needed to win to keep Scotland in the top tier of rugby of the World Cup next year so we're happy we've done that but there's a lot of improvements if we want to beat Ireland in the next game."

"We want to finish this tournament in ninth place, that means beating Ireland which we know will be extremely tough however we think we've got the skills to beat them. We are going to play very similar to the way we've played all tournament, our defence was really ruthless the last two games and I think that's what has won us the last two games so we'll be looking to lead from our defence."

Scotland coach Eamon John: "I am really, really pleased. It was a really important win for Scottish rugby, keeping us in the top 10 of world rugby. That was our aim and we have achieved that so I am delighted.

"Tonga are a really proud rugby nation and we knew it was going to be difficult. It's very difficult to win in world rugby back-to-back test matches against the same team within a week so really it was a mini test series and it was 2-0 so we're delighted."

Tonga coach Nili Tu'ipulotu: "Our team I think we played much better. We defended well but unfortunately we defended too much in the first half so it really took up a lot of our boys' strength and fitness. Unfortunately we didn't have the same chance to be close to the goal-line as we did in our last game so about twice we got close to the try-line, the rest we spent defending."

Tonga captain Seilame Tuku'afu: "There's nothing to say but we thank God for what he give us. We lose again but it's ok because nothing is going to change our aim to still be here next year in this tournament.""