Australia U20s too strong for PNG in trial

(IRB.COM) Friday 3 May 2013
 Australia U20s too strong for PNG in trial
Jack Dempsey on the attack for Australia Under 20s against Papua New Guinea - Photo: Bond University

Australian Under 20s continued their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 by running out 72-12 winners over Papua New Guinea in a trial match at Bond University on Thursday.

The match was played during a training camp on the Gold Coast, the first of two such camps that will take place before the squad heads to France for the prestigious tournament that runs from 5-23 June.

While the result was a positive one against the Puk Puks, coach Adrian Thompson was most pleased with the opportunity to see his players test themselves in match conditions.

“A game is probably worth five or six training sessions in terms of what you can get out of it,” explained Thompson. “We didn’t get any injuries and the Puk Puks forced us to defend a lot, so that was a good result for us.

“We saw some things that need work on, so it’s good to identify those now. The guys showed a lot of enthusiasm and kept their work rate up, so that was a real positive.”

The Australians dominated the opening exchanges of the match, playing with width to open the scoring through Alex Northam and by the end of the first 25-minute period they had moved out to lead 26-7.

Australia’s forwards continued to control the match in the second period, with a powerful presence in the set piece and at the breakdown, while the backs also showed their strength and desire to offload in the tackle.

Papua New Guineans tested their hosts and showcased their trademark flair throughout the match, but the effects of their week-long camp appeared to take a toll as they tired towards the end.

Eight different players crossed for Australia’s 12 tries in Senio Toleafoa (2), Northam (2), UJ Seuteni (2), Pat Sio (2), Phil Kite, captain Curtis Browning, Maile Ngauamo and Ben Meeham.

Australia Under 20s have been handed a tricky draw at JWC 2013 with four-time champions New Zealand, Ireland and Fiji their opponents in Pool B with only the winner guaranteed a place in the semi-finals.