Strange laments lack of composure against England U20s
Wales head coach Jason Strange has pin-pointed a lack of composure as the key difference after England claimed a 34-22 victory over his side in the World Rugby U20 Championship clash in Tbilisi.
Wales trailed 21-3 at the end of the first half but pounced with the last play thanks to Kieron Assiratti and continued to fight back in the second half. They brought the score-line to 24-17 and were pushing for a third try to level before letting their rivals off the hook. England then displayed their clinical edge as they went down the field and quickly claimed a decisive fourth try.
Strange said: “In the first half a few individual errors cost us a lot of possession and full credit to England – their speed of ball was very good and they played some good attack. But just before half time I thought the grit and determination our players showed was fantastic.
“We were quite confident at half-time, we were only two scores behind and we had a nice breeze behind us. The tries England scored in the first half our structures were in place, it was just a couple of individual missed tackles when we had turned over the ball.
“Against a good England pack our scrum and lineout was excellent and full credit to the players for that. At 24-17 on 60 minutes, there’s a crucial moment where we have kicked the ball away a few metres from their line.
“That was a big moment in the game and they’ve gone up the other side and scored. We can take a lot of learnings from it – composure, decision-making in key moments.
“The final result is a harsh score line. If we had scored next at 24-17 I would have fancied us to have won it because of our set-piece dominance.”
Wales can no longer reach the semi-finals and will instead enter the play-offs to decide world rankings.
But first they face Samoa in their final Pool A game on Thursday (10am BST), again at Tbilisi’s Avchala Stadium.
Strange added: “Samoa will be another tough challenge but one the boys can look forward to. It was a really good performance in parts, we played some really good rugby, scored some good tries so there are lots of positives.”