The second round of the 2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Championships saw New Zealand and the Junior Wallabies come out on top again against Fiji and Tonga respectively.
The gusty performance by New Zealand against Fiji had them ahead 15 – 3 at half time. New Zealand who were down to just 14 players on the field after Billy Proctor was shown the red card in the 18th minute, The Kiwi side regathered in during the break coming out in the second half to add a further 40 points to their total to beat Fiji 55 – 15.
New Zealand Captain Harry Plummer said, “The boys put in everything we could have asked for. It was tough due to the extra player in the bin so everyone had to work extra harder so it drove us, the boys are very happy and very tired but it was great game. We will look at our review; get our recovery right. Australia is going to be hard but we are looking forward to the challenge – it’s always awesome playing against an Australian team and we are going to be up to that challenge come Saturday.
The Fijian side had a better outing today scoring 2 tries, Captain Raikabula Momoedonu said, “New Zealand, they are the top side of the competition at the moment and I guess it’s always going to be tough coming against a side like them. There were some things that we did that were pretty good on the field but we had some errors as well that cost us dearly. We are looking at a win against Tonga and will give it our best come Saturday.”
Koli Sewabu, Fiji Coach, spoke after the match saying, “It’s a much improvement performance in comparison to our first match our set pieces worked a lot better – we are competing against a tier one nation and we manage to put a lot of pressure on them on the scrummage. I am proud of the way the boys played the full eighty minutes and came back strong in the end and were able to dominate some of the areas which we normally struggle with.”
New Zealand 55 (Tries: Asi, Plummer 2, Flanders, Tremain, Roe, Tale’a and Spowart; Cons: Plummer 5) defeated Fiji 15 (Tries: Rasch, Vudogo; Cons: Ratu; Pens: Nabetelevu)
The second match of the night saw hosts Junior Wallabies please their local supporters yet again with a convincing win against a determined Tongan outfit 91-7. Australia started the match with a try in the opening minutes and continued their rampant form throughout the match.
Tonga Captain Maka Mafileo said, “It was pretty tough, we knew they were going to be a strong side and we couldn’t capitalize on anything. We are playing against Fiji on Saturday, we are going train hard, learn off the last two games and trust the process.
Australian Captain Tate McDermott said, “That was great performance from everyone involved, full respect to Tonga, they are physical, and they did a good job too. Early on our defence set the time for us for the whole game and I was really happy with our set piece and I think that was a massive piece for us tonight. We’ve got whole lot to improve on going into the match against the Kiwis and we will review and build on that and we have to be on-game this Saturday.”
Australia 91 (Tries: McTaggart 4, Hosea 3, Kemeny, Harrison 2, Ramm, Latu, Dargeant and Lucas; Cons: Harrison 6, Lucas 2) defeated Tonga 7 (Tries: Tamo’ua; Cons: Vea)
Saturday’s matches will see Tonga take on Fiji at 5pm, both sides will be looking for their first win of the tournament in their first match up since the 2017 Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy which saw nothing separate the teams following two draws. This will be followed by a Trans-Tasman Final at 7pm between hosts Australia and reigning Champions New Zealand who both go into the match undefeated and separated on the Championship ladder by only a 7-point points differential.