Eyasses fire Wales to a winning start

Young Ospreys Matthew Jarvis and Ashley Beck scored all the points as Wales got off to a winning start at the IRB Junior World Championship, beating Samoa 22-13 in Argentina.

Their Pool A opener at Club Atletico Estudiantes, in Parana, turned into a tough test and it was a try from the Aberavon and Ospreys centre Ashley Beck 10 minutes from time that tipped the scales in favour of Dan Watchurst’s side.

The skipper was pleased with the victory, but admitted his side will have to improve before they face Fiji, who were beaten 44-11 by defending champions New Zealand in the first game.

“We looked a bit tired in the second half but overall it was a pretty good start. We didn't really play through our phases in the first half but we did in the second half and managed to score a try,” said Watchurst.

“We know that Fiji will be similar to Samoa and that that will be another big test for us again.”

Samoa outscored Wales by two tries to one and could have ended much closer had Patrick Fa'apale not missed three penalties and two conversions in the first half and Karl Maleilegaoi not pushed another penalty wide after the break.

By contrast, Welsh outside half Jarvis, also Aberavon and Ospreys academy, was on top form with the boot and landed six successive kicks before finally missing with an 84th minute penalty when the game was won.

Two Jarvis penalties gave Wales a 6-0 lead before No 8 Toby Faletau picked up a yellow card. While he was on the sidelines the Samoan’s conjured up with first try through wing Lole Tualaulelei.

A third Jarvis penalty extend the Welsh lead to 9-5, but Samoan coach Ofisa Tonu’u, the former Newport scrum half, had plenty to celebrate on the stroke of half-time when prop Joe Sililoto crossed for a second try to give his side a 10-9 lead.

The game hung in the balance throughout the third quarter with Jarvis making it 12-10 before Fa'apale finally found his range to give Samoa a 13-12 advantage. With 30 minutes left to play the Welsh needed something special and Jarvis stroked over his fifth penalty before Beck’s try a few minutes later created a vital nine point cushion.

Jarvis’ conversion took his match tally to 17 points and Wales coach Phil Davies will be hoping he can maintain his impressive strike rate when his side face Fiji at the same venue on Wednesday and then complete their Pool assignments against New Zealand on 13 June.

Wales Under 20's

Dan Fish; Kristian Phillips, Owen Williams, Ashley Beck, Adam Hughes; Matthew Jarvis, Rhys Downes; Dan Watchurst (captain), Rhys Williams, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Peers, James Thomas, James King, Rhys Jenkins, Toby Faletau


Ieuan Davies (for Rhys Williams 78), Joe Rees (for Watchurst 67), Morgan Allen (for Faletau 59), Josh Navidi (for Jenkins 59), Gareth Davies (for Downes 52), Steve Shingler, Scott Williams (for Hughes 42)