IRB Junior World Championship
Australia beat France to claim bronze
ESPNscrum Staff
June 26, 2011
The Baby Bocks racked up a century for the second time in their JWC history © Getty Images
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Australia claimed third place at this year's IRB Junior World Championship with a 30-17 victory over France in their bronze medal match at the Stadio Plebiscito in Padova.

Captain Colby Faingaa inspired Australia to a victory that was sweet revenge for their 31-25 defeat to their French rivals during the pool stages. France had taken an early 3-0 lead with a penalty by Jean Pascal Barraque - who had been one of the stars eight days earlier with 16 points in the pool win - but Australia immediately began to assert their authority, scoring two tries in the opening half hour.

Centre Tom Kingston scored the first after receiving a timely pass from Faingaa and stepping his way to the try line, handing off the French defence with ease, before the captain played a pivotal role in Matt Lucas' try. Playing at No.8 rather than his customary flanker role, Faingaa picked the ball up from the base of an Australia scrum before breaking through the French defence and passing to scrum half Lucas with one defender to beat.

Ben Volavola took his tournament conversion tally to 10 with the two tries, before adding a further three points with a penalty to extend Australia's lead to seven at the break after Geoffrey Palis had scored France's first try of the match. The fullback was bundled over the try-line by his teammates, with Barraque successfully converting the try to also take his own conversion tally for the tournament to 10.

Australia dominated the territory in the second half, starving their opponents of any possession, but could only add a further two penalties through fly half Volavola. This meant the Australians had to endure a nervy end to the match as, when France finally gained some territory, a quick lineout saw Julien Come cross the line, raising the French players' hopes of a comeback.

French hopes were dashed shortly after, however, when Simon Morahan's score under the posts confirmed Australia's third place finish, a year after suffering an emphatic 62-17 loss to New Zealand in the final in Argentina.

Earlier in the day, South Africa hammered Fiji 104-17 in Treviso to claim fifth place in the championship. The Baby Boks ran in 16 tries, including a hat-trick for No.8 and captain Arno Botha, as Fiji had no answer to their dominance. It is now the second time the South Africans have passed the 100 point mark in a JWC match, following their 108-18 demolition of USA in 2008.

South Africa led 43-17 at half-time after winger Tshotsho Mbovane got the scoreboard ticking over after just two minutes. Fellow wing Wandile Mjekevu, flanker Nizaam Carr, two from Botha, centre Francois Venter and scrum-half Pieter Rademan also touched down in a first-half which saw nine tries. Fiji's two tries came through inside centre Semi Radradra and winger Josateki Lalagevesi.

Fiji failed to add to their tally in the second-half as the Baby Bocks rampaged through the second 40, clearly attempting to make amends for missing out on the semi-finals for the first time in JWC history. Rademan added his second along with Jaco Taute, who scored twice. There were further tries through Courtnall Skosan, Paul Jordaan, Francois Kleinhaus, another from Mbovane and a third for Botha. A penalty try after 58 minutes also contributed to the eventual century for South Africa.

Hosts Italy booked their place in the 2012 Junior World Championships with a 34-22 win over Tonga in Rovigo. Scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani inspired the Azzurri to victory which means Tonga will play in the Junior World Rugby Trophy next year rather than the JWC. Palazzani contributed 19 points in a thrilling eight-try match and he opened the scoring in just the second minute when he crossed the tryline.

Siale Talakai struck back for Tonga 10 minutes later and after Palazzani slotted a penalty, Tonga Afu crossed the line to make the score 10-10. Italy pulled away soon after through a try from winger Michele Visentin and a penalty try 15 minutes into the second-half made it 27-10 to the hosts. Inside centre Tommaso Castello bundled over in the 62 minute for what proved to be Italy's final try of the match. Tonga rallied and threatened to gate-crash the host's party through late tries from prop Nehumi Vanisi and Afu's second try, but it was not enough and the hosts hung on to the delight of their supporters in the Stadio Mario Battaglini.

In Treviso, Wales beat Ireland 38-24 at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo to secure seventh place. Wales ran in five tries for the win and led 21-14 at the break following tries from centre Lewis Robling, captain Macauley Cook and winger Liam Williams. Winger Andrew Conway crossed the line for Ireland in a score which took him level with New Zealand wing Zac Guildford as the all-time leading try scorer in JWC history. Ireland's other try of the first-half came through fellow winger Andrew Boyle. Wales pulled away in the second-half through a mixture of tries from Cory Hill and Thomas Young and the boot of Matthew Morgan. Iain Henderson claimed a late consolation try for Ireland.

Argentina claimed ninth place in the JWC with a tense 15-14 win over Scotland in Rovigo. Argentina raced into a 15-0 lead with a penalty try and touch down from fly-half Sebastián Poet, but Scotland fought back with scrum-half Sean Kennedy's try just before the half hour mark. Fullback Stuart Hogg crossed in the 55th minute and with the conversion Scotland cut the deficit to a point but it was not enough as Argentina held on to claim victory.

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