For the third time in four years England are the IRB Junior World Championships after overpowering Ireland 45-21 in the decider. Despite finishing second to last in the Six Nations England continued to enhance their growing statue at the age group level winning the tournament unbeaten for a second time. In all under-20 internationals England have won 70 out of 91 Tests.
Argentina achieved their best ever result thrashing South Africa 49-19 in the playoff for third while 2015 champions New Zealand finished with a flourish against Australia to secure fifth place.
England: 45 (Joe Marchant 2, Harry Mallinder 2, Callum Chick, Huw Taylor; Mallinder 5 con, 1 pen, Max Green 1 pen) Ireland: 21 (Adam McBurney, Shane Daly, Max Deegan tries; Jonny McPhillips 2 con, Brett Connon 1 con)
A commanding first-half and a virtuoso display by first-five Harry Mallinder powered England to victory.
The English forwards were quick to stamp their authority controlling possession and territory in the opening minutes. Ireland's defence was initially resolute, but finally wilted in the 16th minute when centre Joe Marchant skinned two defenders and dashed 35-metres.
No.8 Callum Chick scored from a lineout drive to make it 14-0 before Mallinder really began to impose his class on proceedings. Slick interplay with second-five Jonny Williams sent lock Huw Taylor over for England's third try and it was 21-0 at halftime.
Obviously it was essential for the Irish to score first points in the second-half, but it didn't happen. Marchant broke and put Mallinder in for his first try two minutes after the restart.
In the 47th minute Irish hooker Adam McBurney burrowed over from close range to briefly ignite hopes of a fight back, but those prospects were dashed moments later when Mallinder received a return pass from second-row Stan South to canter over the line.
Irish fullback Jacob Stockdale has had a brilliant tourney and an electrifying 60-metre burst engineered a try for Shane Daly. However when halfback Stephen Kerins was yellow carded just before the hour mark it stymied Ireland’s progress. Marchant gathered in a cross-field kick from Mallinder at pace and spun out of the attempted tackle for England’s sixth try.
Player of the Tournament Max Deegan grabbed a consolation try at the death. The Irish No.8 terrorised New Zealand. but it was England who terrorised Ireland today. They were convincing victors.
5 v 6
New Zealand: 55 (Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a, Quinten Strange, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Asafo Aumua, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Sio Tomkinson, Jonathan Taumateine tries; Jordie Barrett 6 con, 1 pen) Australia: 24 (Campbell Magnay, Faalalie Sione, penalty try; Nick Jooste 3 con, 1 pen)
New Zealand have finished in fifth place after trouncing Australia 55-24. New Zealand ended the tourney by scoring more tries than any other country and passed 50 points in three games. However their often embarrassing scrummaging was a major hindrance on their assault for the title.
In the first 20 minutes New Zealand surged to a 21-7 lead. Tries to forwards Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a and Quinten Strange demonstrated the Kiwis ability to offload in contact with accuracy and stretch Australia's defence on the edges.
Australia scored a cracking try in the tenth minute when wing Liam McNamara defused a high kick deep in his half and wriggled past two Kiwi defenders. At the next ruck fullback Jack Maddocks sailed through a hole and set up centre Campbell Magnay.
From the 23rd minute to the 29th minute New Zealand was anchored in their 22 and pummelled at scrum time. Prop Faalalie Sione powered over make it 21-14. On halftime there was further misery for the New Zealand scrum as they conceded a penalty try. Beast Australian lock Lukhan Tui proved to be a real handful.
Nick Jooste and Jordie Barrett traded penalties at the start of the second half but the game-changing moment came when Australia's first-five attempted a dink over the top of the onrushing defence. Isaia Walker-Leawere preformed a charge down and strolled home from 25-metres to put New Zealand in front again.
New Zealand's scrum come under further siege and in the 55th minute they lost prop Sean Paranihi to the sin bin. However New Zealand's greater bench strength and ability to translate turnovers into points would prove telling in the last quarter.
Replacement hooker Asafo Aumua scored a try after a break by wing Jonah Lowe. Peter Umaga Jensen received a 20-metre miss pass from Walker-Leawere and beat the last defender to score his only try of the tournament.
In the 73rd minute reserve flanker Dalton Papalii burgled possession from an Australia ruck and charged into the 22. Stephen Perofeta and Sio Tomkinson then combined to breach Australia's defence. On fulltime substitute halfback Jonathan Taumateine crossed when he supported an Orbyn Ledger breakout from deep inside his own half.
Barrett was named man of the match and had an outstanding tourney. Stevenson and Strange were the other real standouts for New Zealand.
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