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Ryan Woodman

Ryan Woodman was proud of the effort his side put in against Georgia

Jones delighted with Wales U20s progress

Emotional composure and tactical nous were the two big qualities that Wales head coach Mark Jones praised for his side’s 40-21 win over Georgia to reach the fifth-place play-off final at the World Rugby U20 Championship. 

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The victory, their second in four games at the tournament in South Africa, set-up a final clash with Australia. If they win that one, they will take fifth place and make it their best finish since 2013. 

That is a massive turnaround for a team who suffered a whitewash in the Six Nations a few months earlier. 

“It’s always great to get a win. We have been good in patches in games and looked dangerous, but we were clinical against the side that statistically had the best defence in the tournament,” said Jones, who saw his side score six tries in Paarl. 

“Even though we lost to New Zealand and France there was enough in both games to show us we were heading in the right direction. In the New Zealand game, we didn’t match them tactically or emotionally after half-time, but we were ready for the onslaught this time. 

“More importantly, our half backs got it right tactically, so when the Georgians started coming at us, they had to do it from 80 metres away from our line. 

“It was very important we scored when we did at the end of the first half, but there was another big moment when we just stopped them from getting a try just before the break. That was a big moment in the game. 

“At half time we spoke about being ready emotionally, being in the right places tactically in the first 15 minutes and for the rest of the game keeping our discipline. We felt that the way we were defending they weren’t going to be able to score from 80 metres. 

“The half-backs have been terrific. We’ve had the lion’s share of possession and territory throughout this tournament and we’ve done it in different ways.  

“We did it via kicking against Japan in awful weather, through holding the ball against New Zealand with good set-piece, and today we had a good mixture of both. The boys are executing the plan really well and they should take a lot of credit.  

“We’re so excited to be playing Australia. We wanted to be in the top four, but we deserve to be in this fifth-place play-off final.  

“Now it is a case of how well we recover and what we learn from the game against Georgia. What a great opportunity to go into a big game against one of the best rugby nations in the world.” 

It was a try for another superbly executed driving line-out that saw Wales take a 7-6 at the end of a very physical first-half against a Georgian team who only just missed out on a top four finish after beating both Argentina and Italy.

Dan Edwards

Daniel Edwards celebrates victory against Georgia

Their powerful pack were a threat throughout the game and paved the way for three tries of their own in the end.   

“I’m really happy for the boys after all the hard work they’ve been putting in. They had a good driving maul, but we stayed composed in what was a very physical game,” said Wales skipper Ryan Woodman. 

“That’s the sort of result we should be coming away with every game. We kept them in their 22 in the first half and that meant they wouldn’t be scoring any points. 

“We kept the pressure on them, and we knew the tries would come. We know we can score tries and we could have scored two or three more in the first half but for some individual errors. 

“We wanted to wear them down because their fitness isn’t as good as ours. It was massively important to score just before the break.  

“We needed to stay composed and not do what we did against New Zealand, which was lose control of the game at the start of the second half. Dan Edwards’ kicking and the chase from the players really put pressure on them, and they didn’t really know what to do in the end. 

“We haven’t played Australia yet, but we know they have just beaten New Zealand. We felt we should have done that as well in our opening game.” 

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