Uruguay crowned IRB junior World Champs
April 28, 2008

Uruguay were crowned the inaugural IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy champions after beating host nation Chile 20-8 in the final at the Stade Francais Club in Santiago on Sunday.

Uruguay were crowned the inaugural IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy champions after beating host nation Chile 20-8 in the final at the Stade Français Club in Santiago on Sunday.

The early exchanges between the two teams, dominated by ferocious tackling and peppered with unforced errors, reflected the anxiety and emotion of the 30 players.

Overall it was a clash of the equals - two teams of similar size, similar desire to win, know-how and levels of skill who knew each other well, having met frequently at various age groups in a South American or international context.

The difference was clearly in the will to win of the Uruguayans - arguably the most complete Under 20 team in the tournament - as well as in their ability to master their own mistakes and control the set piece department.

With Chile frenetically supported by a partisan crowd of up to 7,000 spectators and scoring early the Uruguayans had to apply themselves to the task to be able to turn the game around and emerge victorious in the end.

Chile moved into an 8-0 lead following an early penalty from fly half Francisco González and an unconverted try by their gifted inside centre Ricardo Sifri. Sadly the try was the first and last sample of the potential of the Chile back division expected to do the talking on the day.

From that moment on Uruguay raised the pace of their game and their forwards tore into the Chileans with relish, which led a few minutes later to their first try with their huge lock Diego Magno at the scoring end of a ferocious Uruguayan drive. Fly half Germán Albanell converted for a half-time score of 8-7.

In the second half Uruguay piled on the pressure and Chile began to crumble. Their scrummage found itself shunted at every ball and although they managed to retain possession due to the savvy ability of their number 8 and captain Benjamín del Solar, the quality of the ball was nevertheless poor and prevented the Chilean backs from mounting any meaningful attack.

The situation was duplicated in the lineout, where the Uruguayans attacked every Chilean throw and managed to steal some significant balls when the host nation were attacking.

Chile managed to hang on to the slender one point margin until some 20 minutes into the second half when a drop goal by Albanell took Los Teritos into the lead for the first time.

Uruguay never looked back and with their ferociously competitive back row of the outstanding Juan Diego Ormaechea, captain Matías Fonseca and Juan Manuel Gaminara roaming the field they managed to take control of the proceedings.

A penalty from centre Geronimo Etcheverry rewarded their efforts and then, to add insult to injury, in the closing stages Albanell crashed over a bouncing ball fumbled by the Chilean defenders in the in goal on the left and converted his own try to take his personal tally to 12 points in the final and extend Uruguay's lead to 20-8.

Uruguay's victory means they not only get their hands on the inaugural trophy but also secure promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship in 2009 at the expense of the nation finishing bottom of that tournament in Wales this June.

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