Wales U20 beat Ireland 38-24 to clinch seventh place at the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy on Sunday.
Richard Webster’s young guns scored five tries and put together a polished performance to end the tournament on a high.
Despite disappointing losses to New Zealand and Fiji over the past fortnight, Wales were able to cut down the errors and keep the Lion’s share of possession in order to mount some impressive attack play against Mike Ruddock’s Ireland side who had pushed England all the way in the Pool stage.
Centre Lewis Robling was first on the score sheet with a try that came from good phase play. Matthew Morgan missed the conversion attempt but added a penalty five minutes later. Ireland hit back with a try for Leinster full back Andrew Conway, converted by outside half James McKinney to close the gap to a single point at 8-7.
However, the rest of the half was dominated by Wales, tries for captain Macauley Cook and wing Liam Williams putting some distance between the sides before a late touch down for Ireland wing Andrew Boyle and Paddy Jackson conversion took the half-time score to 21-14.
Jackson and Wales outside half Matthew Morgan swapped penalties early in the second half before Morgan received a yellow card. However, Wales kept up the momentum and replacement lock Cory Hill was next to score with a pick up and go after 64 minutes, full back Steve Shingler adding the extras. The fifth and final Welsh try went to open side flanker Thomas Young, converted by Morgan.
Head coach Richard Webster said, “Everything came together today and we produced a good all-round performance. We kept the ball, built some good attacking play and cut down the error count.
“It’s pleasing to finish the tournament on a high note, the players have come back from a very ugly place to get to this point and they deserve credit for that. They played a very physical, intense brand of rugby, returning to some of the rugby they played in the Six Nations. They showed what they are capable of as players and as a team, but they need to show that in every game they play.”
Wales: Steve Shingler; Liam Williams, Iolo Evans (Dale Ford 62), Lewis Robling (Rheon James 9), Ross Jones; Matthew Morgan, Jonathan Evans (Lewis Jones 74); Will Taylor, Kirby Myhill, WillGriff John (Lewis Smout 66), Macauley Cook (capt), Lloyd Peers (Cory Hill 53), Luke Hamilton (Owen Sheppeard 68), Thomas Young, Ben Thomas.