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Zimbabwe spoilt Kenya’s closing party with a 64-10 victory in the fifth-place play-off on the final day of the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Nairobi on Sunday.

Both teams impressed during the Pool stages, each winning one of three matches and running their other opponents close, but this was a one-sided affair dominated by the superior power and slick offloading game of the Junior Sables, who ran in 10 tries in all.

Despite a noisy home crowd, it was all Zimbabwe from the first whistle and they took the lead in the ninth minute through Tawanda Matipano. The winger improvised from a loose pass to kick ahead and touch down in the right-hand corner after an impressive turn of pace.

Matipano bagged another try in the 17th minute, capitalising on a powerful carry from number eight Shingi Manyarara, who recently signed for Racing 92, to score in the same corner.

Try number three soon followed, this time inside centre Dion Khumalo cutting a devastating angle after a lineout to power over near the posts and Zimbabwe were in full control when prop Tadiwa Chinwada barrelled over from close range just before the half-hour mark.

A devastating team move down the left resulted in winger Benoni Nhekairo touching down for the fifth try before half-time.

Further scores from Manyarara and Simbarashe Kanyangarara extended Zimbabwe’s lead in the second half but Kenya found a glimmer of hope when Khumalo received a red card for a dangerous tackle just before the hour mark.

Kenya scored their first try from the resulting penalty through replacement James Tsinalo, but the hosts couldn’t make their numerical advantage count and it was Zimbabwe who scored next, a penalty try compounded for Kenya by two yellow cards.

Further scores, including a trademark flying finish from replacement Shadreck Mandaza, put a gloss on the scoreline and no doubt left Zimbabwe – who began the tournament by conceding 51 points in the first half to Scotland – wondering what might have been.


A hat-trick from debutant Monroe Job and doubles from hooker Corey Tait and tighthead Cam Norrie allowed Scotland to overpower Samoa, scoring 12 tries in the process.

If Andrew McLean had converted Will Reid’s last-minute try, Scotland would have signed off the tournament with the third-highest match score of all time in the U20 Trophy.

And Job could have had one more, after replacement Will Robinson’s break midway through the second half, but the freshly arrived flyer was bundled into touch just before he could get his pass away. Robinson had landed in Nairobi just over a day before coming off the bench, as coach Kenny Murray scrambled for injury cover – and later scored a try of his own as the Scots ran riot.

Third place was secured by the time referee Robin Kaluzniak called an end of the opening period, as Scotland ran in five first-half tries, stretched Samoa from one side to the other and overpowered them in the set-piece.

Job’s tries were off the training-ground set-piece template. Three times – starting as early as the fifth minute – he came up with the ball at the back of an unstoppable Scottish maul. It was a successful scoring method the side would repeat several times in the match, as Samoa struggled with their discipline.

The first of Tait’s brace – a variation on the lineout-maul-try theme – came four minutes after Job’s first international touchdown. Scrum-half Ben Afshar, who finished the tournament with 63 points, darted through a hole in Samoa’s defence after his hooker had carried with intent into contact to add their third in just the 15th minute.

Second-row Faauiga Tauese Tanumoa charged down Afshar’s clearance kick in the 18th minute to get defiant Samoa on the scoreboard. But, an Afa Moleli penalty on 26 minutes would be their final contribution to the points tally, despite looking dangerous in the scant moments they had control of the ball.

The Pacific Islanders’ rapidly lost cause was not helped when influential fly-half Moleli left the pitch on a stretcher midway through the second half with a suspected head injury.

In fact, the second half was all Scotland. Norrie forced his way over after another penalty kick to the corner early on. He barged his way over a second time a matter of minutes later.

And 18-year-old wing Kerr Johnston got his name on the scoreboard on his first start, darting over from another scrum that was piling forward. Second-row Jake Parkinson was an unstoppable force too close to the line soon after.

Then Tait went over for his second; Robinson scored a thoroughly deserved try for all his buzzing energy after coming on; Archie Falconer had hold of the ball as the forwards ran their lineout-to-tryline play one final time; and Matt Reid rounded off the scoring with the score of the match, as Samoa wilted.


A hat-trick of tries from back-rower Hayden McKay and a brace from winger Aaron Faison – on his first start – eased USA to a comfortable 47-22 win over Hong Kong China in the opening game of the final day at the U20 Trophy.

An early Solomon Williams try – the scrum-half benefiting from mimicking Antoine Dupont’s ‘minister of the interior’ role to pick up an inside ball from Rand Santos, who had quickstepped his way through the Hong Kong China defence – sent USA off on a perfect start en route to a seventh-place finish.

And Faison’s first minutes later, the ball shipped crisply and accurately wide to him, hinted that it would be a long day at the office for Hong Kong China.

But Hong Kong China’s pack had other ideas. They took on USA up front and had such an early advantage that they prompted tactical personnel changes on both sides of the US front row as early as the 25th minute.

Bringing on replacement props John Wilson and Connor Devos steadied USA’s scrum – but it was already too late to prevent Hong Kong China getting a score of their own, through hooker Dewi Simons.

It came from a well-worked training ground five-metre lineout move down the short side that allowed Simons to power over in the corner and was no less than Hong Kong China deserved as they enjoyed more than their fair share of territory and possession.

By now, though, USA Captain Hugh O’Kennedy, deputising for Dom Besag, who has been called up to the US Eagles’ side because of his impressive performances in Kenya, was starting to control proceedings from fly-half.

And McKay’s first try, after 35 minutes, was prologue to a dominant second half. Dylan Fortune had been held up over the line moments earlier when McKay charged over from 15 metres out as USA raced back the resulting goal-line dropout.

USA upped the ante early in the second half, replacement Wilson coming up with the ball at the back of a maul to extend their lead. Two minutes later, Faison went over for his second, picking up Corbin Smith’s perfect pass to finish off a crisp move.

There was plenty of time left for McKay to score his second and third – taking his overall tally for the tournament to seven – in typical openside style and end the match as a contest.

But though Hong Kong China were down, they were far from out. In the closing minutes, tries from 17-year-old Fritz Mahn, Charles Warren and a highlight-reel score from Max Threlkeld, after USA replacement Henry Duke had been shown a second yellow for a late tackle, ensured the scoreline was not deceptively one-sided.

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