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South Africa, NZ, Australia, France start well at junior rugby worlds

South Africa, NZ, Australia, France start well at junior rugby worlds

South Africa's 108-18 rout of the United States led rugby's traditional heavyweights in a scorefest on the opening day Friday of the inaugural junior world championship.
All four teams favored to win their pools next week and advance to the semifinals _ New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France _ were easy winners in a tournament which has replaced the under-19 and under-21 world champs.
New Zealand, the overall favorite which won the under-19 title last year in Northern Ireland, defeated Tonga 48-9, Australia thrashed Canada 81-12, and France accounted for Japan 53-17.
Elsewhere, it was Argentina 17, Ireland 9; Samoa 29, Scotland 17; England 41, Fiji 17; and Wales 29, Italy 10.
South Africa scored 16 tries and Josias Ebersohn tallied 25 points, including a perfect 10-from-10 conversion rate before he was replaced.
New Zealand led Tonga only 10-9 at halftime at Cardiff Arms Park before speeding away with six unanswered tries in the second half.
Australia was four tries up by the end of the first quarter despite a valiant effort in defense by Canada. Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty finished with four of Australia's 12 tries. Scrumhalf Sean White scored both of Canada's.
Three tries in seven minutes bridging halftime helped France shake loose of Japan.
France started off 14-0 but Japan charged back to trail 14-12. France No. 8 Raphael Lakafia scored two successive tries _ he'd grab a hat trick _ and winger Benjamin Fall his second just before and after halftime to seal the result.
Hooker Ryuhei Arita scored all three of Japan's tries.
England flew to a 41-0, six-try lead at the break then the European champion sat back as Fiji restored a little pride.
Argentina won a thriller, leading 10-3 before Ireland cut the deficit to one. The Argentine defense then barely handled the upbeat Irish, and the South Americans nailed the victory only when center Juan Pablo Estelles scored a late intercept try.
Samoa regained the lead in the second half against Scotland with a try by replacement fullback Sanele Vavae Tuilagi for 14-10 and didn't look back at Wrexham with a try to captain Afa Aiono and a late insurance score by winger Alatasi Tupou.
Wales' tight five made sure the host dominated possession but the handling was poor and after allowing Italy to close within two points after halftime, the Welsh needed two converted tries in three minutes to subdue the Italians.


Updated : 2021-06-13 01:34 GMT+08:00