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Japan U20 vs New Zealand Universities

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 29 May 2023 - 4:00

The highlights package is worth a look and only takes six minutes (Japanese commentary but not distracting. Officiating is in English).

This is not quite like-with-like, as a New Zealand U20 team might even include some Super Rugby talent. Also the Japan U20 side is now coached by Rob Penney, who has coached, with varying degrees of success, NZ U20, Canterbury, Munster and the Waratahs. Still, it wasn't so long ago a New Zealand Universities side would have run up a Bazball cricket score against a Japanese student side of any kind.

The Japan side included Harry Willard at lock. He played schoolboy rugby for Woodhouse Grove in Yorkshire, and is now at Durham University. he qualifies for Japan through his mother, and may even still have Japanese nationality. Japanese law lets a dual national child keep both nationalities until the age of 20, at which point they are supposed to choose. Most individuals in that situation elect to be Japanese but never renounce the other nationality, so are unofficial dual-national Japanese.

Willard did go to an England U18 camp, so was on the radar. Still, at 190cm and 100kg, he might be a more valuable package for Japan, so it will be interesting to see if he goes that route.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 29 May 2023 - 12:14

Thanks for sharing, this was good fun (especially over breakfast).  Ball skills are terrific for a young age on both sides. I know this is a highlight block, but from what I saw, so many crisp on-target passes. Thing of beauty. Almost reminds me of Rugby in the East Midlands, south of the DMZ, of course (no offense, Sam).


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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu 1 Jun 2023 - 17:51

Great win for Japan. Georgia u20s also beat England u20s today in Georgia, great to see these kind of results.


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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 1 Jun 2023 - 23:34

England U20s nearly lost the first match against Georgia, not that you'd know it from the England rugby YouTube channel highlights, which just showed English scores (England were in red). It was only later, that it became evident a late try under the posts had saved us.

The Telegraph has a report on Georgia's victory over England:
Georgia Under-20 beat England for the first time, sparking a pitch invasion in Tbilisi after another landmark victory for their country.

The topsy-turvy game was the second of a two-match series acting as a warm-up for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, which will begin in South Africa later this month.

England edged home 41-36 in the first encounter on Saturday but could not resist a determined fightback from the hosts this time around in what was Mark Mapletoft’s second outing as head coach. A concerning result follows a fourth-place finish in the Six Nations, behind Italy, for this age grade earlier in the season.

Despite leading 14-0 and 24-14 at different stages in the first half, the tourists went down to a late double from back-row replacement Andro Dvali and Georgia’s defence held out to secure a 40-38 triumph. A feat made all the more impressive given the high esteem that the current Under-20s squad is currently regarded in at Twickenham.

Mapletoft’s side now travel to the World Championship where they are in a tricky pool with Australia and Fiji as well as Ireland, the Six Nations Grand Slam champions.

Georgia, whose senior team have overturned Italy and Wales over the past year, thrashed Scotland 55-17 at this level in 2022 and are grouped with Italy, South Africa and Argentina this summer.

England did begin in impeccable fashion on Thursday lunchtime. Left wing Alex Wills caught Connor Slevin’s kick-off to put them ahead within seconds and they opened up a 14-0 advantage when Afolabi Fasogbon capitalised on a Joe Jenkins offload.

A break-out from Georgia was then finished by scrum-half and skipper Davit Khuroshvili, however, and scores were level before the end of the first quarter after Petre Khutisishvili added another try following effective running from full-back Vazha Mikaddze and left wing Luka Tsirekidze.

England hit back again with a clever line-out peel that was finished well by hooker Finn Theobald-Thomas. Wills soon had a second thanks to slick handling that consolidated Jenkins’ charge from a first-phase backline move.

At 24-14 behind, Georgia rallied either side of the break. Nikoloz Lomidze burrowed over to reward a sequence of muscular mauls and then Luka Kotorashvili trundled through a breakdown to put his team in front for the first time.
England misery continues as Under-20s suffer first defeat by Georgia – sparking pitch invasion

Charlie Bracken sniped over to give his side hope of holding off their opponents but Dvali’s brace, the first try following a close-range quick-tap and the second from Tsirekidze’s offload to cap a flowing attack out wide, arrived while England were reduced to 14 men. Jenkins, starting at full-back had been sin-binned by referee Nika Amashukeli for creeping offside with the visitors under severe pressure.

Although Greg Fisilau’s pick and go gave England one last play to rescue themselves, Georgia defenders piled in to force a maul turnover and land a famous win.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 4 Jun 2023 - 9:26

This England side has quite a bit of talent but they looked rudderless in the 6N, haven't seen these games but it sounds like a similar problem. Really just can't control the game so end up making errors in the wrong parts of the pitch and always give the opposition chances, defensive alignment is an issue as well.

Considering the size and power of some of the forwards England really should be able to play pragmatically under pressure and weather the storm. The lack of a natural openside due to injury doesn't help. Bracken at 9 is a good disruptor but along with the 10s really lacks that game management nous. I suspect an early exit at the JWC unless some much better organisation and tactics are found.

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