Wales U20s captain Dewi Lake (second from left) joins the other skippers ahead of the tournament kick-off. Pic: World Rugby.

Gareth Williams Urges Wales To Beware The Pumas’ Claws As U20s Begin Bid For Glory

Wales will have to get back to winning ways against host nation Argentina if they are to make a major impact at the World Rugby Junior Championships which kicks-off today (Tuesday) and is live on S4C.

Last season, the Pumas came out on top 39-15 in France and they also pipped Wales in the knockout stages in 2010 to reach the fifth-place play-off game thanks to a 9-8 kicking competition victory after the two sides had tied 19-19 after extra-time.

With the 2019 tournament being staged in Argentina it all adds up to a tough opening task for Dewi Lake and his side this evening (kick-off 5.00pm BST – live at S4C Clic and on S4C Chwaraeon Facebook) as they face the young Pumas for the sixth time in the tournament.

“We’ve come to Argentina wanting to be as successful as possible, but are very aware that wins at international level do not just happen – especially against a quality team like Argentina in their opening match of a home World Cup,” said Wales head coach Gareth Williams.

“The challenge for us is to be at our best from a tactical, technical, physical and mental point of view. If we can harness those areas in our preparation, we’ll hopefully fall the right side of the scoreboard come the end of 80 minutes.”

At least eight of the Welsh side will know what to expect having played against the Pumas in last year’s competition.

There are two players returning for the home side, who have reached the semi-finals once.

Wales U20 v Argentina U20

2018 (France) Wales 15-39 Argentina

2013 (France) Wales 25-20 Argentina

2012 (S.Africa) Wales 25-17 Argentina

2011 (Italy) Wales 34-8 Argentina

2010 (Argentina) Wales 19-19 Argentina (lost 9-8 on goal kicks)

 

10 KEY FACTS ABOUT THE U20 JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

This year’s event is the 12th edition of a competition that began in Wales in 2008, when Sam Warburton captained the home side.

Argentina becomes the third country after Italy and France to stage the event twice, having first hosted in 2010. The host nation has only won the tournament three times, South Africa in 2012, England in 2016 and France in 2018.

The 11 winning captains are Chris Smith (NZ – 2008), Aaron Cruden (NZ – 2009), Tyler Bleyendaal (NZ – 2010), Luke Whitelock (NZ – 2011), Wiaan Liebenberg (SA – 2012), Jack Clifford (Eng – 2013), Maro Itoje (Eng – 2014), Atunaisa Moli (NZ – 2015), Harry Mallinder (Eng – 2016), Luke Jacobson (2017) and Arthur Coville (FR – 2018)

Only seven nations have featured in the 11 finals to date – England (9), New Zealand (7), South Africa (2), Australia (1), France (1), Ireland (1) and Wales (1). Argentina are the only other side to make a semi-final.

New Zealand winger Tevita Li scored a record 13 tries across his two appearances in the U20 Championship, while Australia’s Andrew Kellaway holds the record for the most tries in a single Championship with 10 in 2014

Wales’ final pool opponents, Fiji, bounced back to the U20 Championship stage for the first time since 2014 by winning the sister event, the U20 Trophy, in 2018.

Wales ended New Zealand’s run of 21 successive matches from 2008-2012 when they beat them 9-6 Wales in the 2012 pool stages.

Some 655 players have taken part in an U20 Championship and gone on to play test rugby, with Argentina boasting the most graduates with 67. More than a quarter of players at RWC 2015 had come through the U20 Championship pathway.

Three players in the class of 2019 have already been capped at test level in England back rower Ted Hill, Georgia hooker Van Karkadze and his captain Tedo Abzhandadze.

Brodie Retallick became the first U20 graduate to be crowned World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year in 2014. He was followed by fellow All Black Beauden Barrett in 2016 and 2017.

 

WALES AT THE JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

2008 (Wales)

Wales 29 – 10 Italy

Wales 33 – 10 Japan

Wales 23 – 19 France

Wales   6 – 31 New Zealand

Wales 18 – 43 South Africa

P5 W3 L 2 = 4th

 

2009 (Japan)

Wales 51 – 5 Tonga

Wales 51 – 15 Canada

Wales   5 – 38 Australia

Wales 19 – 17 Ireland

Wales 13 – 68 France

P5 W3 L2 = 6th

 

2010 (Argentina)

Wales 22 – 13 Samoa

Wales 31 – 3   Fiji

Wales 10 – 43 New Zealand

Wales 19 – 19 Argentina (8-9 pen shoot out)

Wales 39 – 15 Fiji

P5 W3 L2 = 7th

 

2011 (Italy)

Wales 34 – 8   Argentina

Wales   0 – 92 New Zealand

Wales 56 – 6   Italy

Wales 20 – 34 Fiji

Wales 38 – 24 Ireland

P5 W3 L2 = 7th

 

2012 (South Africa)

Wales 44 – 18 Fiji

Wales   9 – 6   New Zealand

Wales 74 – 3   Samoa

Wales   6 – 30 New Zealand

Wales 25 – 7   Argentina

P5 W4 L1 = 3rd

 

2013 (France)

Wales 42 – 3   Samoa

Wales 26 – 21 Scotland

Wales 25 – 20 Argentina

Wales 18 – 17 South Africa

Wales 15 – 23 England

P5 W4 L1 = 2nd

 

2014 (New Zealand)

Wales 48 – 19 Fiji

Wales 21 – 35 Ireland

Wales 13 – 3   France

Wales 18 – 19 France

Wales 20 – 3   Samoa

P5 W3 L2 = 7th

 

2015 (Italy)

Wales 10 – 19 France

Wales 16 – 35 England

Wales 66 – 3   Japan

Wales 22 – 12 Ireland

Wales 23 – 28 Australia

P5 W2 L3 = 6th

 

2016 (England)

Wales 25 – 26 Ireland

Wales 10 – 9   Georgia

Wales 18 – 17 New Zealand

Wales 12 – 71 New Zealand

Wales 42 – 19 Scotland

P5 W2 L3 = 7th

 

2017 (Georgia)

Wales 17 – 24 Australia

Wales 22 – 34 England

Wales 54 – 20 Samoa

Wales 25 – 29 Scotland

Wales 25 – 24 Italy

P5 W2 L3 = 7th

 

2018 (France)

Wales 26 – 21 Australia

Wales 18 – 17 Japan

Wales 10 – 42 New Zealand

Wales 15 – 39 Argentina

Wales 34 – 17 Italy

P5 W3 L2 = 7th

 

Wales U20 Fixtures 2019

June 4: Wales U20s v Argentina U20s (KO 5pm BST)

June 8: Wales U20s v France U20s (KO 5pm BST)

June 12: Wales U20s v Fiji U20s (5pm BST)

 

World Rugby Under 20 Championship
Starts Tuesday 4 June, 4.45pm
Available to watch live at S4C Clic and the S4C Chwaraeon Facebook page
A Media Atom production for S4C

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.