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France U20s go back-to-back as they fend off Australia in World Championship final

France U20s go back-to-back as they fend off Australia in World Championship final

France U20s retained their Under-20s World Championship title with the narrowest of victories over Australia as they confirmed that the future looks bright indeed for Les Bleus.

Elsewhere on finals day in Argentina, England downed U20s Six Nations rivals Wales in the hunt for fifth, while Ireland, Italy and Scotland were all felled.

Here’s a look at all the action from the final day of competition in Argentina.

France 24-23 Australia

Looking to become the tournament’s first back-to-back winners since England in 2014, France got off to the worst possible start, shipping the opening try of the final with less than a minute on the clock.

But, not to be rattled, they dug in to level and then lead as Theo Lachaud dotted down and Louis Carbonel slotted the conversion before adding a penalty.

The Aussies hit back, but Alex Burin gave France the initiative heading into half time, adding their second score of the piece.

A try from Australia’s Harry Wilson turned the game, ushering in a nervy period that saw each side swap penalties and the lead with reckless abandon, but it was Carbonel who kicked the telling points.

Holding on by just a point from the 65th minute, France were unbreachable as they kept their title in style.

England 45-26 Wales

It was fifth place for England after the U20s Six Nations showdown between the Red Rose and Wales as an early blitz set them on their way to a 45-26 triumph.

England hit the front with a trio of quickfire of scores, star wing Josh Hodge crossing first to cap a fine individual effort, before Will Capon put the finishing touches to a lineout drive.

A penalty try gave them a 21-0 lead with a quarter played, and though Wales steadied the ship, England notched a fourth on the stroke of half time, Joe Heyes first on the scene to pick-and-go after Ollie Sleightholme had darted to brink of the line.

But Wales emerged from the sheds with impetus, and two scores in nine second-half minutes gave them a fighting chance as Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake profited from rolling mauls.

Fraser Dingwall and Ed Scragg promptly traded tries in what had become a harum-scarum 20 minutes, but for England to put the brakes on.

After a period of relative quietude, Ted Hill wrapped up the win, but it was Wales who had the last word as Rio Dyer dotted down to draw the curtain.

Ireland 17-40 New Zealand 

Ireland gave six-time champions New Zealand a scare, but ultimately it was not to be for the reigning U20s Six Nations champions.

The All Blacks were unforgiving from the off, running in 26 unanswered points before Ireland managed to gain a foothold in proceedings.

But Fineen Wycherley’s score on the cusp of the break heralded a stream of 17 straight points without reply for the men in green.

Further tries from Dylan Tierney-Martin and a beauty from Ryan Baird had heads held high, but ultimately it was not enough, as Ireland were left to settle for an eighth-place finish.

Italy 29-17 Georgia

Matteo Drudi was first on the board to give the Azzurrini an early lead in what proved a tightly-fought contest, as Italy held onto their advantage into the half-time break.

But Georgia fought back, going ahead through Demur Tapladze, and reinforced their position when Mikheil Alania dotted down.

Federico Mori gave Italy hope when he cut the deficit to three points, and Jacopo Trulla capped the turnaround, his try putting them 21-17 to the good for a lead that they would not relinquish.

Scotland 34-59 Fiji

Scotland were on the wrong end of a high-scoring affair as a 59-34 defeat at the hands of Fiji saw them demoted to the U20 Trophy competition.

Jack Blain’s score gave the Scots an early lead, but a Fijian onslaught left them trailing 38-15 at the break despite Matt Davidson’s try half-an-hour in.

Ewan Ashman kept up his rare scoring form with a pair of second-half finishes, with Ross Thompson adding another, but Fiji were in a clinical mood throughout, keeping Scotland at arms-length as they totted up the scoreboard.