Wales signed off their 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship campaign with a 28-23 defeat to Australia in Viadana.
Tries from Josh Adams and Elis-Wyn Benham and two Daniel Jonespenalties wasn't enough on the day and Wales ended the tournament in sixth
place overall, one higher than last year.
There have been some excellent games in past junior World Championships between these two sides and this match was no exception. Both teams put width on the ball and both attempted to keep the game dynamic.
However, despite scoring two penalties in the third quarter, the young Welsh side was unable to turn their territorial advantage in that period into tries and in the event that proved costly. It was Australia who finished the stronger using their big and mobile forwards to do the softening work before releasing their backs.
"We couldn't cope with the power of their forwards early in the game," said defence coach Richard Hodges. "But the boys have progressed well during the tournament and from the starting team today nine will be eligible for next year. We have a good platform to build on."
Wales were under early pressure from the powerful Wallaby Under 20 side who made their forward strength tell with a try from two quick phases of ball and a clinical finish by number 8 Adam Korczyk touching down under the posts leaving fly half Andrew Deegan with an easy conversion.
Wales, however, responded positively, moving the ball well to give wing Joshua Adams a dash down the left touchline for an unconverted try.
Australia were looking increasingly dominant and confirmation came with another powerful forward effort that ended with the raw but effective second row Lhab Lealaiaulolo- Tui crashing through a pile of bodies for the Wallabies' second try skilfully converted from wide out by Deegan.
Wales' supporters in the Viadana crowd were given encouragement by a run out of defence by Dafydd Howells that gained some 50 metres before the Australian defence was able to hunt down the Ospreys' full back.
Then when wing Elis-Wyn Benham escaped down the right wing a try looked a possibility but again the Australian defence reacted quickly to save a dangerous situation leaving the men in gold 14-5 ahead at the break.
Wales had a chance in the second half to eat into Australia's lead only for Daniel Jones to pull his shot at goal wide of the posts. But after another period of territorial dominance Wales were awarded a penalty after a series of forward surges and this time Jones made no mistake with his kick to take Wales within a converted try of their southern hemisphere opponents.
The momentum was now swinging towards Wales and Welsh fortunes were further improved with the sin-binning of Australia left wing Campbell Magnay. Wales used their man advantage to pile further pressure on Australia resulting in a penalty goal from Jones.
Then from a darting run by scrum half Tomos Williams, the supporting Ollie Griffiths sprinted to the line only to be hauled down a metre short.
That seemed to give Australia encouragement. The young Wallabies surged back and from a line-out after a penalty, they used their powerful forwards to drive at the Wales line, ending with replacement prop Folau Fainga stretching out for his side's third try, the conversion by Deegan putting Australia ahead by 21-11.
The scoreline became worse for Wales after Australia took charge of the forward battle with repeated surges to the line before releasing the ball to the backs for full back Jonathan Placid to force his way over on the narrow side, Deegan once again adding the conversion.
Wales refused to capitulate and after good work in midfield and then a switch of direction in the attack, wing Elis-Wyn Benham was given space to cross for an unconverted try in the corner.
Suddenly Wales seemed to have rediscovered themselves and just on full time Owen Watkin and Joshua Adams combined to give replacement Lloyd Lewis a try under the posts, Jones' conversion the final points of the game.
Scorers for Wales: Tries Adams, Benham
Pens Jones (2)
Wales Under 20 : D Howells (Ospreys); E Benham (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), O Watkin (Ospreys), J Adams (Saracens); D Jones (Scarlets), T Williams (Cardiff Blues); L Garret (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Elias (Scarlets), D Lewis (Cardiff Blues), S Davies (Cardiff Blues), A Beard (Ospreys), T Phillips (Scarlets), O Griffiths (Newport Gwent Dragons) capt, H Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons) Replacements T Myhill (Scarlets), K Bales (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Jones (Cardiff Blues), L Taylor (Camarthen Quins), L Belcher (Cardiff Blues), K Hardy (Scarlets), L Lewis (Newport Gwent Dragons), B Nightingale (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Referee L Linton (Scotland)