Thursday, June 23, 2011
Last night the Semi Finals of the Junior World Championship took place in Italy, with England and New Zealand both progressing to the final after beating France and Australia respectively. Today we've got extended highlights for you of both.
In the first semi, England beat France 33-18 in Treviso to progress to their third final in four years. Christian Wade, George Ford, Ben Ranson, and Alex Gray all scored tries as the lead changed hands often in the tight encounter.
While the game was closer than the scoreline suggested, France threw everything into the last few minutes as they hoped to get within range. Some of their touches were incredible to watch, but ultimately as they chased the game, an interception from Captain Gray sealed the win for England, and sent them through to the final with a well deserved win.
New Zealand cruised through to the final as they beat Australia 37-7 in a game that might have looked one sided judging by the scoreline, but was actually fairly testing for the Baby Blacks at one stage. Australia scored first and at 13-7 at halftime, it looked a real contest.
In the second half the New Zealanders kicked into gear as they streaked away to win their 19th consecutive junior championships match, and aim to win their fourth successive title. The final takes place on Sunday night, 26th June.
Elsewhere, Fiji surprised Wales by beating them 34-20, South Africa pumped Ireland 57-15, Scotland eased to a 30-11 win over Tonga, and Argentina beat Italy 12-8.
There will be another round of games taking place on Sunday, as teams jockey for higher place on the overall standings, with Fiji and South Africa competing for fifth place. Italy and Tonga have a relegation battle on their hands, and the loser of that match will move to the lower ranked IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2012. Samoa will be moving up.
The below highlights are 19 mins long, with the second game starting about ten minutes in.
UPDATE: Short highlights of the other games have now been included below the main video.
England juniors great try savers and France's kicking tactics
Junior World Championship - Match highlights from Day 3
Baby Blacks run riot against Wales in Junior World Championships
New Zealand win the Junior World Championship 2010
New Zealand u20's beat England u20's to win the Junior World Championship 2009
Ireland u20's challenge the Haka - Junior World Championship 2009