The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2015 kicked off in Lisbon on Tuesday, with the favorites picking up impressive wins in four exciting matches played at the Estadio Universitario de Lisbon and CAR Rugby do Jamor.

Fiji and Tonga got their campaigns off to flying starts as both Pacific nations won their matches against Portugal and Hong Kong, respectively.

The hosts played well throughout the match and created plenty of try-scoring opportunities but in the first half only scored through the boot of their full-back João Leitão, who converted two penalties and one drop goal to trail by 10 points at half-time (19-9). 

The young Fijians, on the other hand, showed their renowned handling skills as their centres, Kaveni Dabenaise and Vatiliai Tuidraki, created two beautiful tries on fast-paced plays during the first 40 minutes.

The Wolves entered the second half determined to even the score and after a João Leitão penalty, the sizable Jamor crowd went wild as winger Pedro Silvério scored Portugal's first try. The Fijians response was immediate and winger Filipo Daugunu kept the islanders ahead with another try. 

With 20 minutes to go and the home crowd willing them on, the Portuguese made the Fijian defence earn their victory, they pressed their try line until the very last play which ended cruelly in an interception by Daugunu that finished under the posts with a converted try and the final score, 34-19.

We had heart but lacked calmness

After the match Portugal captain Duarte Diniz recognised that his team "had lots of heart, but lacked the calmness to get a different result", and even though he was "happy for the Wolves' display" he felt that "the result failed to show what truly happened on the field", a sentiment echoed by head coach João Pedro Varela, who said that his players "demonstrated their identity as Wolves". 

On the other side, Fiji's head coach Bill Gadol wasn't happy about his team's performance as he felt "we played below average" and that "Portugal played as we expected, they came out firing and had a great game". 

Fiji skipper Tuidraki felt "very happy" that his side won, and gave "congrats to Portugal for their great game", dedicating the victory to "all Fijian mothers, to whom we wish a happy Mothers’ Day".

Tonga, who defeated Hong Kong 35-16 at the University had, according to head coach Liueli Lafoe "a hard game, mainly because it was our first on the tournament". 

Although the Asian side scored first, through the quality place-kicking of full-back and captain Hugo Stiles, who would go on to score all of its team's points, the Tongan rugby was too strong, and after a try by winger Taliauli Sikuea, the Pacific Island side would go and lead comfortably until half-time (21-9), a lead that would only grow during the second half with tries from fly-half Siaosi Taina and full-back Leliuaki Halafonua.

Hong Kong captain proud of his team

"Both teams played a good game, it was a good match," said Bill Fukofuka, Tonga's captain, while admitting that, as his coach put it "winning was the main thing today". 

Stiles said he was "proud of the boys", for they had "worked well and now have to recover for the next game".

The impressive performance by Georgia was also one of the highlights of the U20 Trophy's first day in Lisbon. An eight-try, 46-12 victory against Uruguay marked a match dominated by the strong play of the Junior Lelos' forwards, especially that of number eight, Beka Gorgadze.

"We are taking this competition one match at a time" said Gorgadze, Georgia's vice-captain, while head coach Ilia Maisuradze thought that his side "played better during the first half and even as we played a bit messy during the second half we kept scoring tries and won the game".

The Uruguayans, trailing 31-0 at half-time, dominated part of the second half, but a strong defensive effort and some great tackles by the Georgians delayed the Teritos' first try, scored by the flanker Diego Ardao, on the 52nd minute. Four more tries for the eastern Europeans and one from the Uruguayan winger Santiago Pineyrua then settled the final score. 

Disappointment from Los Teritos

This was the third encounter between Georgia and Uruguay in the U20 Trophy (Uruguay won 20-16 in 2008's pool stage while Georgia were victorious 20-15 in 2011's third place play-off).Gonzalo Soto, the Teritos' vice-captain, admitted that his side "didn't start the game like we wanted" and echoed the thoughts of head coach Juan Baldomir, who recognised that "this was going to be a difficult match" played against "a very physical side" but one Uruguay "would analyze to correct errors as we prepare for our next challenge".

Meanwhile, back at the Estadio Universitario de Lisbo, a very tight first half finished with Canada leading 13-10, a result that rewarded Namibia's consistent exhibition and, according to Canadian head coach Jeff Williams, "punished the many errors" his side committed during the first 40 minutes. 

In the second half, the North Americans played with a lot more control and created two more tries that, along with fly-half Dylan Morgan's 16 points, were ultimately good enough to defeat the Namibians 35-20.

Captain Christo van der Merwe, who scored two of Namibia's three tries, recognised that their squad "failed to get momentum and will have to be faster when defending against Tonga", their next opponent.

Lucas Rumball, the Canucks' captain, said that "being the first match, we started a bit nervous", explaining why only during the second half "after we made some substitutions and changes to our game" the Canadians gained the advantage needed to win this match.


Pool A – CAR Rugby do Jamor 
Uruguay 12-46 Georgia 
Fiji 34-19 Portugal 

Pool B – Estadio Universitario de Lisbon
Canada 35-20 Namibia
Tonga 35-16 Hong Kong

Fans can watch live streaming of the tournament around the world. Two venues will be in use on each of the four match days during the tournament in Lisbon with all games being available to view via the Portuguese Rugby Union (FPR) website.

For Pool A matches click here.
For Pool B matches click here.

Fans have been encouraged to join the conversation via Twitter, sending messages of support to their players using the hashtag, #WorldRugbyU20s.

Main photo credit: João Peleteiro/World Rugby