In Pool A, Namibia laid down another marker with a 12-try defeat of Hong Kong and put themselves within 80 minutes of the final. Samoa stand in their way and got the victory over Romania they needed to keep pace at the top of the group despite an ill-disciplined performance that earned them two yellows and one red card. The two sides meet on Wednesday afternoon in a winner-takes-all encounter for Pool A spoils.
Fiji are the only remaining unbeaten team in Pool B, but they were made to sweat for victory against Portugal, who led their more illustrious opponents with 23 minutes remaining. Fiji play Canada on Wednesday, who suffered late heartbreak for the second game running as a try in stoppage time gave Uruguay their first win of this year’s tournament.
Uruguay 27-23 Canada
Uruguay’s superior scrummaging power and technique told at the death as they reignited their World Rugby U20 Trophy hopes and handed Canada a second agonising defeat in succession.
Having blown a 15-point first-half lead against Portugal in their Pool B opener, that hangover seemed to seep into day two as Uruguay dominated the opening quarter.
The South Americans scored the game’s first try in the 11th minute when captain Santiago Civetta took advantage of a strong five-metre scrum to dot the ball down.
Will Percillier got Canada on the board with a penalty in the 19th minute, before he and Juan Cattivelli traded three-pointers as the game approached the half-hour mark.
Uruguay retained the upper hand, though, and they stretched their lead to nine points on the stroke of half-time as Alfonso Costa won the race to the goal-line following a mix-up in the Canadian defence that resulted in Josiah Morra tapping the ball towards danger.
Canada number eight Michael Smith drew his side within two points less than eight minutes into the second half as he stretched over from close range. But when Manuel Portela took a pass on Nicolas Buysan’s right shoulder it looked as though normal order had been resumed.
That was until Uruguay’s replacement prop Ignacio Peculo was sent to the sin bin. Canada scored 10 points in the period he was off the pitch, through a Percillier penalty and converted Jackson Matthews try, to take the lead.
The North Americans had around 10 minutes to hold out, and did until the final play of the game when the Uruguayans turned the screw at another five-metre scrum, and profiting from the holes punched in the Canadian defence, replacement playmaker Matias D’Avanzo danced over.
Namibia 84-10 Hong Kong
Namibia accelerated away from Hong Kong in the final quarter, scoring seven tries from the 60th minute onwards to put the seal on a second successive victory in Pool A.
Having racked up a half-century of points against hosts Romania on Tuesday, the southern African side picked up where they left off at the Stadionul National Arcul De Triumf on Saturday.
Impressive Namibia fly-half Denzo Bruwer missed a long-range penalty attempt, from inches inside his own half, in the third minute but his side took the lead when Donaville Lebereki crossed eight minutes later.
A successful Bruwer penalty stretched Namibia's lead to 10 points before an unconverted James Rivers try gave Hong Kong hope. Bruwer struck his second penalty before Gerswin Mouton grabbed two tries in four minutes - the second a wonderful solo effort - to edge Namibia’s advantage beyond three converted scores.
Callum Tam profited from a strong Hong Kong scrum to score his side’s second try three minutes before half-time, but from then on it was all one-way traffic.
Adriaan Ludick powered over to score shortly after the break, and 10 minutes later, with Namibia defending on their own line, Delron Brandt snagged an intercept before offloading for Elmarco Beukes to score.
Namibia scrum-half Jacques Theron ran back a 22 drop out almost unopposed on the hour mark to stretch his side’s lead to 36 points, but when Gerbus van Wyk was shown a yellow card five minutes later Hong Kong would have been forgiven for thinking there would have been a let up.
However, in the 10 minutes the back-row sat out his side ran in four tries. First, Mouton completed his hat-trick with a length of the field intercept, before Gilad Plaatjies, Gerhard Opperman and Pretorius all carved holes in an increasingly weary Hong Kong rearguard.
Van Wyk returned for the final four minutes and there was still time for Daryl Wellman and Wynand Breytenbach to both breach the goal-line.
Samoa 31-17 Romania
Samoa got off to an inauspicious start against the hosts as lock Stefano Leavasa was sent to the sin-bin within four minutes of kick-off.
Romania put the pressure on from the resulting scrum and when play was switched to the left, their route one approach tied in the Samoan defence and allowed Emanuel Grigore to scamper over.
Samoa scrum-half Pupi Ah See was not going to be outdone by his opposite number, however, and within two minutes he carved open the home defence to level the scores.
Laauli Rudy Leavasa’s side had found their rhythm and wing Jim Tupe scored in the right corner to give them the lead after a quarter-of-an-hour, before fly-half Simon Toleafoa converted his own try five minutes later.
Romania narrowed their deficit before the break as Grigore scored his second try of the match, but as the second half got under way his fellow number nine Ah See took a pass from Toleafoa on the line to complete his own brace and secure his side a try bonus-point.
And when Sione Young Yen dived over in the left corner to give Samoa a 31-10 lead in the 51st minute it looked as though the Pacific Islanders would cruise to another U20 Trophy win.
But the game became increasingly scrappy, and just four minutes after Joe Faleafaga was shown a yellow card, try-scorer Tupe was shown red.
Playing against 13 men for six minutes, Romania began to gain the upper hand and scored their third try with a little over four minutes remaining as Andrei Homiuc injected some pace into their attack and Robert Murariu crashed over. The hosts pushed for the try that would have given them two bonus points in defeat but were kept at bay.
Portugal 22-32 Fiji
Fiji were made to work for their five points against Portugal, needing three tries in the closing 23 minutes to make sure of their second successive World Rugby U20 Trophy victory in Bucharest.
Portugal came into the match on a high following their last-gasp defeat of Canada, and took an early lead on day two as Jeronimo Portela touched down in the right corner. He missed the touchline conversion and Fiji levelled the scores within four minutes as Vilimoni Botitu offloaded to Joseph Mar, who scored in the left corner.
On the quarter-hour, the Pacific Islanders took the lead when Saimoni Uluinakauvadra outstripped the Portuguese defence on the right wing.
Caleb Muntz missed the subsequent conversion, and that allowed Portela two reel Fiji in as he struck two penalties before half-time to give Portugal a slender 11-10 lead at the break.
Further penalties from Portela and Joao Maria Lima stretched Portugal’s lead to a converted try with just over 26 minutes left. And with handling errors hurting their opponents, victory appeared to be on the cards.
However, in the 58th minute, Ilikena Vudogo scored a try out of almost nothing, and although Nabetelevu Turaganivalu missed the conversion Fiji were within two points.
Having edged the door to victory open, Fiji hooker Tevita Ikanivere bulldozed through it to score his side’s fourth try and hand them the lead. It visibly knocked the wind out of Portugal and Waisake Raratuba’s try with around eight minutes remaining made it game, set and match.
Turaganivalu stretched Fiji’s lead to 15 points with a late penalty, but there was still time for Manoa Mocelutu to be sent to the bin as Portugal chased a third try. The European side managed to breach the Fiji line eight minutes into stoppage time as Diogo Cardoso touched down after a series of reset scrums.
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