Fiji go down to England in U-20 Rugby Championship

July 5, 2024 5:13 am

James Halliwell of England U/20 scores a try against Fiji [Source: World Rugby]

The Sports World Fijian Under 20 side went down against England 11-48 on day two of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2024.

Fiji scored the first points of the match, via Isikeli Basiyalo, after backrow Ebernezer Tuidraki was sin-binned for a dangerous clear-out at an early ruck.

But they saw precious little of England’s 22 in the first half, despite playing some delightful rugby with ball in hand. Mark Mapletoft’s side – wearing black armbands to honour England and Bath coach Jack Rowell, who died at the age of 87 – were too organised, and punished ill-disciplined Fiji’s errors.

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England wingers Angus Hall and Toby Cousins shared four of England’s eight tries as they beat Fiji to pick up their second bonus-point win of the competition.

Hooker James Isaac’s scored the game’s first try, coming up with the ball at the back of a maul from a 5m lineout.

James Halliwell got the second under the posts – quick hands and a step off his left foot giving the tighthead all the room he needed to run it in under the posts.

The backs finally got in on the scoring act at the end of the opening quarter as Angus Hall danced his way over after the ball was spun wide to him from a tap penalty.

Back to the forwards for the bonus point try after 26 minutes.

Replacement backrow Henry Pollock, on for Finn Carduff, ran it in from 25m, as England turned the screw.

A knock-on in their own 22 led to England’s fifth, as they made the most of advantage to burst clear. The ball found its way to Toby Cousins on halfway, and his perfect chip-and-chase beat the last defender.

And Hall intercepted a building attack to score his second two minutes before the break.

The game lost its shape in the second half. But, despite being a player down, after second row Harvey Cuckson was sin-binned, England extended their lead as Kane James crashed over on the hour after repeated scrums 5m out.

Another dominant England scrum was passed wide for Cousins to score his second with four minutes left on the clock.

But Fiji had the last word when Benjamin Naivalu dived over for a consolation score four minutes after the clock had turned red.

In other matches played this morning, Rico Simpson was New Zealand’s hero as they came out on top in a 53-point classic against France in Stellenbosch, edging them 27-26 while there were victories for Ireland and Wales.

New Zealand found themselves 11-0 down at half-time against the three-time defending champions but rallied with a stirring second-half performance before fly-half Simpson won the match with the final kick of the match.

Victory means New Zealand top Pool A, three points clear of Wales and four ahead of France, who meet each other in the final round of the pool stage next Tuesday.

Earlier, Wales beat Spain 31-10 to earn their first win of the tournament.

Elsewhere, Finn Treacy scored a try in the final play as Ireland came from behind to beat Georgia 22-16.

The Junior Lelos needed to beat Ireland to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals and led by a point with the clock in the red but the replacement winger scored following a 24-phase attack.

Victory keeps Ireland top of Pool B ahead of Australia’s meeting with Italy later on Thursday.