Wales Under 20 suffered at the hands of Fiji with a 34-20 loss in the fifth place semi-final of the Junior World Championship in Italy.
Fiji were first on the scoreboard, with a penalty in the twelfth minute for wing Josateki Lalagavesi between two missed kicks for Matthew Morgan. Lalagavesi missed a second attempt before outside half Metuisela Talebula touched down for the first try, converted by Lalagavesi, taking the score to 10-0. Scarlets centre Dale Ford reduced the deficit with a try after 34 minutes, converted by Morgan, but Lalagavesi’s second penalty of the half took the half-time score to 13-7.
Both teams went down to 14 men for a period, first Fijian centre Solomoni Rasolea was yellow carded at the end of the first half, before Wales wing Liam Williams was sent to the sin bin six minutes into the second half.
Fiji extended their lead after the break with three more Lalagavesi penalties to one for Matthew Morgan early in the second half.
Wales mounted a mini comeback with tries for Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones and London Irish-bound Steve Shingler, but Matthew Morgan was unable to add the extras on this occasion.
Wales were never able to stamp their authority on the game and Fiji added two further tries of their own, a second for Talebula and one for replacement scrum half Eliki Sicinilawa, the first converted by Lalagavesi.Wales team manager Mark Taylor said, “Tonight’s performance was hugely disappointing. We totally underperformed and there are no excuses. “We lost our shape very quickly, we weren’t direct enough in our play and we didn’t follow the game plan. We kicked away too much ball, we made handling errors and basically enabled Fiji to score points through our mistakes. We have to look hard at ourselves as a group after this performance.”
Wales scorers: Tries: Dale Ford, Rhodri Jones, Steve Shingler; Con: Matthew Morgan; Pen: Matthew Morgan.
Yellow card: Liam Williams (46mins)
Fiji scorers: Tries: Talebula (2), Sicinilawa; Cons: Lalagavesi (2); Pens: Lalagavesi (5).
Yellow card: Rasolea (40mins)
Wales team: Ross Jones (Ospreys / Bridgend); Liam Williams (Llanelli), Dale Ford (Scarlets / Llanelli), Lewis Robling (Dragons / Newport), Eli Walker (Ospreys / Swansea, Steve Shingler London Irish); Matthew Morgan (Ospreys / Swansea), Lewis Jones (Blues / Pontypridd, Jonathan Evans Dragons / Newport); Rhodri Jones (Scarlets / Llanelli), Jamie Sollis (Dragons / Cross Keys), WillGriff John (Blues / Pontypridd, Will Taylor Ospreys / Swansea), Macauley Cook (capt, Blues / Cardiff), Cory Hill (Blues / Pontypridd), Edward Siggery (London Irish, Thomas Young Cardiff Blues), Luke Hamilton (Blues / Glamorgan Wanderers), Ben Thomas (Ospreys / Bridgend).