Dublin – Ireland, June 22, 2012: TONGA, After a second thrilling day of Under 20 action at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City there are now three teams – USA, Georgia and Japan – left unbeaten with the last of the pool matches taking place next Tuesday.
Home side USA sits on top of Pool A and is in pole position now to qualify for its second JWRT final after a 54-25 win over a fancied Chile side. Meanwhile, in Pool B, Georgia and Japan have two wins apiece setting up what should be an enthralling decider between those two sides on Tuesday to see who will play in the June 30 final.
Madison Hughes was the star of the show, continuing his remarkable run in the Under 20s tournament with another outstanding performance, scoring 35 of the United States’ points.
“I was pretty happy with my performance, my team-mates set me up well. I came up on the score sheet, but it was a total team effort that scored the tries,” he said.
After going in 36-6 at half-time it was really all over for Chile. However, the South Americans tried to make a game of in the second half as Mario Mayol and Matias Nordenflycht found the try zone but American reserves Mike Te’o and Pasefika Iosia also scored late tries to complete the rout.
After losing to the Americans in Round One, Tonga registered its first victory of the tournament so far with a 62-7 demolition of Russia. In truth, it was the Hosea Saumaki show for Tonga as the Sea Eagles rolled by the overmatched Russians. The winger scored a hat-trick of tries, mostly on long, impressive gallops through the Russia defence.
The Bears, for some long stretches did slow down the Tongan attack, and did manage a few serious attacks on the tournament’s top-seeded team. But Tonga, cheered on by a supportive and partisan crowd, continued to pour on the offence in the second half.
Japan proved to be the cardiac kids for the second straight game, beating Canada 38-35 in another thriller. After a narrow, wild win over Zimbabwe on Monday, Japan held on to knock off a talented Canadian side.
Five different players scored for Japan, led by flanker Hayato Nishiuchi, who ran in two. The Brave Blossoms had to rally for the second straight game to stay undefeated in Pool B as the Canadians built a 28-17 second-half lead on Andrew Ferguson’s and Connor McCann’s tries in the 48th and 54th minutes. Japan quickly fought back, however, and edged out the Canucks by just three points.
Georgia improved on their already impressive victory of Canada with a 43-7 dismantling of the Sables in the first game of Match Day 2 play. Georgia inside centre Levan Gogolashvili scored three tries to lead his team to an impressive result. The Lelos stayed atop to the Pool B table and will face also undefeated Japan on Tuesday.
Round Three, Tuesday June 26 (all times are local)
Murray Rugby Park, Salt Lake City
Canada v Zimbabwe, 12.00; Japan v Georgia, 14.00; Tonga v Chile, 16.00; USA v Russia, 18.00