Wales U20 cruise to victory

Wales scored four tries in each half to record their first pool victory in the World Rugby U20 Championship with a comfortable 54-20 victory against Samoa.

Captain Will Jones may not have got on the score sheet but he led superbly from the trenches and proved a thorn in the Samoan side from the outset. He was tenacious in defence and a real nuisance at the breakdown. As a result, Wales were often on the front foot, even though at times the game may have become a bit fractious and loose, before the floodgates opened.

Wales freshened up their line-up for the match against Samoa which boasted six changes to the starting line-up which succumbed to England.

A new halfback pairing of Reuben Morgan-Williams and Ben Jones replaced Dane Blacker and Arwel Robson respectively while wing Joe Goodchild and full back Phil Jones took over from Ryan Conbeer and Will Talbot-Davies.

Up front hooker Owen Hughes got his first start of the tournament while lock Callum Bradbury was recalled from the bench.

Samoa coach - and former Scarlet - Mahonri Schwalger kept faith with the bulk of the players who caused Australia so many problems.

The three changes were all in the backs with Alexander Pohla, who scored twice against Australia, moved to the left wing to accommodate the return of Ricky Pauli Ene at full-back with Godinet Tinei given the number nine jersey. 

The opening exchanges saw Samoa test Wales' defence, particularly when centre Hunter Paisami intercepted a Ben Jones pass on halfway to streak clear. However Owen Lane hunted him down five metres from the try-line to avert the danger. 

Two penalties by full back Ricky Pauli Ene gave Samoa a 6-0 lead after nine minutes, but when Jared Rosser cruised home after a withering counter-attack, it was all Wales for the rest of the first half.

Aled Ward, who had a strong game at the back of another dominant Wales scrum, powered over from close range before powerful flanker Shane Lewis-Hughes surged over after Rhys Carre and Ioan Nicholas were brought down inches from the try-line.

Right on the stroke of halftime Wales gained a bonus point for scoring their fourth try through second row Sean Moore who the beneficiary of a well worked lineout. With fly half Ben Jones landing four conversions from four attempts, Wales were in control 28-6 at the break.

Lewis-Hughes plundered his second try of the game after Morgan-Williams dashed down the blindside. The supporting flanker picked up the ball and there was no stopping him from close range.

Wales were caught napping in the 57th minute when Samoa spread the ball quickly through the backs. Wing Alexander Pohla evaded Phil Jones and Lane down the touchline to dive over in the corner. Ene's touchline conversion put Samoa into double figures but still 20 points behind.

The South Sea Islanders chiselled away at the lead with a converted try to Setu Enoka as Wales suddenly found themselves on the defensive.

Wales got on the front foot with captain Will Jones pilfering a turnover and Ellis Shipp bursting clear from a ruck and off-loading to Dane Blacker who scampered home. Arwel Robson's conversion put Wales 40-20 in front.

Blacker's quick thinking from a penalty gifted lock Will Griffiths a try under the posts as the Samoans wilted under the onslaught. Robson converted.

Joe Goodchild delivered the last rites right on the final whistle when he cantered over out wide with Robson putting the icing on the cake with a well struck conversion from the touchline.


Wales: Tries - Jared Rosser, Aled Ward, Shane Lewis-Hughes (2), Sean Moore, Dane Blacker, Will Griffiths, Joe Goodchild; Cons: Ben Jones (4), Arwel Robson (3)

Samoa: Tries: Alexander Pohla, Setu Enoka

Cons: Ricky Pauli Ene; Pens: Ene (2)