Make it two upsets in a row. Chile followed up their impressive performance against Canada with another fine team effort, defeating Fiji by 15-13 to claim 5th spot overall at the World Rugby u20 Trophy. The match was played in challenging conditions as a waterlogged pitch made it near impossible to attempt expansive rugby. It was defense that ultimately earned the Cóndores another historic victory.
A long clearance kick sent play deep into Chilean territory and Jamie Kotz took full advantage of a penalty that followed to put Fiji on the board first. Chile responded quickly, however, through the forwards. They opted for an attacking lineout instead of a scrum and when Fiji collapsed the maul the referee had no option but to go under the posts to award the penalty try.
With Luke Tagi off the pitch for the professional foul Fiji were down to a seven-man scrum and stood no chance against the Chilean power. Clemente Saavedra made good inroads off the back and after several phases Santiago Videla sucked in two defenders to free Rodrigo Manzano in the left corner.
Fiji were down but not out. A frantic five minutes began when Viliame Suwawa regathered a half-charged Fijian clearance attempt and wrestled through the tackle of Manzano and two more en route to a stunning 70 metre solo try.
Just a few moments later it was more magic from the Fijians. Lekima Nasamila pinched a ball at the breakdown and quick hands put Christa Powell into space. After a 50 metre sprint he found Kotz with the offload and then the fullback fired a speculative behind-the-back pass to Suwawa. The powerful winger took two Chilean defenders over the line with him as he grabbed another score.
As conditions deteriorated scoring opportunities were hard to come by in the second half. A massive kick off the left boot of Lucca Avelli put Kotz under pressure and the Fijian fullback’s clearance left Chile a platform to attack. After another aerial exchange Fiji were caught offside and Tomás Salas bisected the uprights to give Chile the lead.
The final quarter saw Fiji pressing but they could not breach the brave Chilean defense. Giant prop Lorenzo Mario was hauled down after a line break and alarm bells were ringing when Kotz was put in space but he was cut off and his attempt to offload was kicked into touch to bring on the final whistle.
Chile close their account with two wins and two losses and can be immensely proud of their efforts especially in their final two matches. Fiji are left bitterly disappointed and trudge home in their worst-ever World Rugby u20 finish having been defeated by Uruguay, Portugal, and Chile in successive matches.
Tries – Penalty try (14′), R. Manzano (18′)
Cons – T. Salas 0/1
Pens – T. Salas 1/1 (59′)
Tries – V. Suwawa 2 (23′, 28′)
Cons – J. Kotz 0/2
Pens – J. Kotz 1/2 (8′)
Yellow cards – L. Tagi (14′), F. Navabale (67′)
1 Piero Zunino, 2 Benjamín Jeria, 3 Marcelo Huerta, 4 Javier Meneses, 5 Thomas Orchard, 6 Alfonso Escobar (capt.), 7 Vicente Contreras, 8 Clemente Saavedra, 9 Domingo Saavedra, 10 Martín De Oto, 11 Rodrigo Manzano, 12 Santiago Videla, 13 Lucca Avelli, 14 Santiago Gana, 15 Tomás Salas
Replacements: 16 Carlos Oyarzún, 17 Augusto Böhme, 18 Benjamín Soto Besamat, 19 Vicente Huete, 20 José Escobedo, 21 Pedro Sotomayor, 22 Javier Valle
1 Veremalua Vugakoto, 2 Semi Navutu, 3 Luke Tagi, 4 Tevita Bolatolu, 5 Temo Mayanavanua (capt.), 6 Seru Ganita, 7 Lekima Nasamila, 8 Apisalome Bogidrau, 9 Peniasi Ratu, 10 Fabiano Navabale, 11 Poniani Batiniu, 12 Filimoni Savou, 13 Christa Powell, 14 Viliame Suwawa, 15 Jamie Kotz
Replacements: 16 Viliame Baravi, 17 Immanuel Naciva, 18 Lorenzo Mario, 19 Saverio Raiqisa, 20 Peni Matawalu, 21 Filimoni Botitu, 22 Veramu Turagavola
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)