Australia U20s defy red card, multiple injuries for bonus-point Georgia victory

The Australia U20s have started their World U20 Championship campaign with a 35-11 win over Georgia.

The bonus-point victory was far from easy as Nathan Grey’s side were forced to overcome several setbacks, losing props Jack Barrett and Tevita Alatini to potentially serious injuries whilst lock Harvey Cordukes was red-carded in the 25th minute.

Catch all the U20 World Championships games free on Rugby Pass TV

However, their relentless attack from the Australians wore out their Georgian counterparts as they charged home for victory in the final 30 minutes.

They scored five tries to re-take the lead and race away with the game to score maximum points.

The new law variations for the U20s came into play instantly as Harry McLaughlin-Phillips marked the kick-off to begin the match. 

The Australians thought they had the opening points in the 11th minute but lock Cordukes’ try was brought back for a tackle in the air by Kadin Pritchard several phases earlier that forced the initial turnover, with the TMO provided extra power to rule on infringements in the final attacking passage of play before scoring.

The Georgians responded to early Australian pressure through their powerful scrum to set up a five metre maul, allowing flanker Luka Suluashvili to power over for the first points.

McLaughlin-Phillips got the Aussies on the board with a penalty but from here, everything that could go wrong for Nathan Grey’s side did in the first half.

It started with a serious injury to Waratahs prop Jack Barrett, with the loosehead medicabbed off the field with a potential ankle injury.

The side was shortly down to 14 when Cordukes was red-carded for a high tackle in the 25th minute.

The Brumbies lock was caught upright in the tackle and made direct contact with the head, leading to the eventual upgrade to the 20-minute red card. 

The Australians looked to have taken the lead before the break, only for another disallowed try for obstruction to send them into the break down 8-6.

Georgia extended the lead with a penalty but the Aussies kept pressuring the defensive line and eventually found their way over the line through Force flyer Ronan Leahy in the corner.

Tighthead Tevita Alatini joined Barrett on the sidelines as he limped off with a knee injury. Still, it didn’t stop Australia’s momentum as Lington Ieli powered his way over the line to extend the lead after a nice backline move put them into the 22.

Angus Staniforth secured the win with 11 minutes to go after a great flick pass from Leahy, with impressive centre Jarrad McLeod getting a well-deserved try after a strong game.

McLeod won the race to a McLaughlin-Phillips chip kick in behind to seal the bonus point, followed by Staniforth’s second to finish the game on a high note.

Coach Grey will have to call on several reinforcements before Friday’s next match against Italy, with scrumhalf Hwi Sharples a late withdrawal due to a hamstring injury.

Australia 35 (TRIES: Staniforth 2, McLeod, Leahy, Ieli; CONS: McLaughlin-Phillips 2; Pens: McLaughlin-Phillips) def Georgia 11 (TRIES: Suluashvili; CONS: Tsirekidze 2)

Source link: Australia U20s defy red card, multiple injuries for bonus-point Georgia victory