Australia U19s pip Wales for third place
April 21, 2007

The Australian Under 19s have recovered from an eleven point half-time deficit to win 25-21, against Wales and claim third place at the iRB Under 19 World Championships in Belfast overnight (AEST).

The Australians were looking to finish the championships on a positive note after a disappointing 32-18 loss to South Africa in the semi finals on Tuesday.

Although the impressive Welsh outfit seemed to have not read the script and came out firing with Tom Williams, Gareth Owens and Jimmy Norris all scoring converted tries in the first half.

The Australians only reply in the first stanza came through hooker's James Hanson converted try in the 21st minute and a Jason Ryan penalty goal on the brink of half-time.

Down 21-10 at the break, the defending champions came storming back into the contest with wingers Andrew Barrett and Alfi Mafi each scoring tries to narrow the margin to one point, 21-20.

Scrumhalf Ryan, in his first start of the tournament, kept his composure to guide the conversion attempt through the uprights to give his team the lead for the first time in the 63rd minute.

Australia's forwards, led by locks Sam Wykes and Rob Simmons, were now finishing the stronger and Ryan slotted another penalty goal in the 73rd minute to extend the margin to four points, which proved to be a bridge too far for Wales.

Coach Phil Mooney said the Australians did not match the intensity of the Welsh team in the first half, but had shown great character and determination to turn the tide around.

"The Welsh blitzed us in that first half, but we knew we had the skills and spirit to come back into the contest," he said.

"Our forward pack really dominated in the second half and we were able to capitalise on our try-scoring chances out wide."

"To finish third overall is a great achievement for this squad and the experience of this tournament will greatly assist in their development, both on and off the field."

Meanwhile, New Zealand has claimed their first Under 19 World Championship crown since 2004 after defeating South Africa 31-7 in the final at Ravenhill, Belfast.

Australia 25 (James Hanson, Andrew Barrett, Alfi Mafi tries; Jason Ryan 2 cons, 2 pens) defeated Wales 21 (Tom Williams, Gareth Owens, Jimmy Norris tries; Leigh Halfpenny 3 cons)

2007 iRB Under 19 World Championship

Australia's Pool matches

Australia 15 defeated Ireland 10

Australia 23 defeated Fiji 12

Australia 30 defeated France 11

Semi Final

South Africa 32 defeated Australia 18

3rd/4th Playoff

Australia 25 defeated Wales 21

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