Wales U20 centre Joe Hawkins is confident his side can bounce back from defeat to France and finish the U20 Six Nations off in style with a victory against Italy at Parc Eirias on Sunday.
The Ospreys midfielder, who took over the Welsh captaincy from the suspended Alex Mann, says his side have bounced back from adversity before and they deserve to finish off their campaign with a victory.
“We have worked hard throughout this tournament; we’ve had to bounce back from adversity after the first game, so we have shown a lot of character already. I think we deserve another ‘W’ but that is on us to go out and put a performance in.
“We have worked hard this tournament and I think the boys do deserve another win to finish off the competition. Hopefully against Italy we can play to our strengths, move the ball around, put a few points on the board and hopefully come away with the win.”
Hawkins was left ruing a difficult night in Colwyn Bay where the French cut loose to score six tries with clinical finishing whereas Wales squandered some gilt-edged chances.
“It’s been a little bit of a common theme this tournament where we’ve been in the game for large parts, but we have to be better at taking our chances when they come,” reflected Hawkins. “It’s good we are creating the chances but that can’t be where it finishes for us. We have got to try and turn the screw and finish off what we are creating.”
France raced out to a 17-3 lead, but Wales fought back bravely with a penalty try followed by a Benji Williams touchdown to bring the home side right back into the frame before the break. But with France reduced to 13 men as the first half finished, Wales were unable to make their numerical advantage pay, and France took hold of the game with a lesson in finishing.
“We’ve never had to question the character or the effort from the squad and that was shown against France,” said Hawkins.
“We did give ourselves a lot to do but we clawed it back in the first half but we gave it all back to them in the second half. And when you’re chasing the game in the end, we simply gave ourselves too much to do."