Scotland celebrated a second success against Australia this weekend after the under-20s completed their best Junior World Cup with victory over the young Wallabies to secure a highest-ever fifth finish in the global tournament in Georgia, writes Alan Lorimer.
Taking their cue from the senior side’s performance in Sydney a day earlier, Scotland Under-20s displayed immense determination and character, hitting back after trailing 10-0 as half-time approached before scoring 17 unanswered points for a 17-10 lead going in the last quarter of the match.
“Defensively we were very strong today,” said the Scotland Under-20 coach John Dalziel. “We focused on defence. We also played the conditions very well. We played into a strong breeze in the first half and then in the second half we dominated through some great kicking by Conor Eastgate. The consensus round the ground was that the better team won. It was certainly not a lucky result.”
Individually replacement scrum-half Charlie Shiel, whose father Graham was a Scotland stand-off/centre, was the hero for the Scots. The Currie player scored shortly after coming off the bench early in the second half and then grabbed the 80th-minute try that secured victory for the Scots.
Australia scrum-half Harrison Goddard scored all his side’s points, his converted try and a penalty giving the young Wallabies a 10-0 advantage as half-time approached. But just before the break, Eastgate kick-started a points rush with a penalty goal and then the conversion of a second-half Robbie Nairn try, made by Blair Kinghorn’s off-load.
A close-range try by Shiel – converted by Eastgate – gave the Scots a 17-10 lead, only for Goddard to slip over for his second touchdown, his conversion levelling the scores. But on the stroke of full-time, Shiel finished off impressive work by the Scotland forwards to score his second try, Eastgate’s conversion sealing a famous Scottish win.
At the top end of the tournament New Zealand reasserted themselves in a massive way to overwhelm the defending champions England 64-17 in the final.
South Africa took the bronze medal by beating France 34-15. Wales defeated Italy 25-24 to take seventh place and Ireland nudged past hosts Georgia for ninth place.