6:45pm Tuesday 12th June 2012
By Chris Kirwan
WALES Under-20s made no mistake against Samoa yesterday to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the Junior World Champion-ship for the first time in four years.
Danny Wilson’s side needed victory in Cape Town to secure a last-four clash at Newlands following Friday’s famous win against New Zealand.
And an upset was never on the cards against winless Pool A strugglers Samoa, who were unable to live with Wales’ set piece prowess or lines of running.
A four-try bonus point was needed to secure top seeding in the semi-finals. It was safely in the bag after a half hour and was followed by seven more scores in a one-sided romp.
The five-point haul – of which new Newport Gwent Dragons signing Tom Prydie contributed 29 points – sets up another clash the revenge-seeking Baby Blacks on Sunday. Despite that dubious ‘reward’, their efforts in South Africa mean that they follow in the footsteps of the 2008 vintage that was skippered by Sam Warburton.
That squad featured a wealth of talent that has gone on to win full honours in Leigh Halfpenny, Jon Davies, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Dan Evans, Justin Tipuric, Josh Turnbull, Ryan Bevington and Scott Andrews.
But for now the current crop are concentrating on the knockout stages rather than caps thanks to their third Pool A win. Ospreys wing Eli Walker started the ball rolling after just four minutes when he went over in the left corner.
Penalties were traded before fly-half Matthew Morgan, another regular for the seniors at the Liberty Stadium, dashed over under the sticks with Dragons wing Tom Prydie converting to make it a comfortable 15-3 lead after a quarter.
Prydie was over himself on 22 minutes before full-back Ross Jones went over down the same right flank on the half hour to secure the bonus point in what was fast turning into a turkey shoot. Wales led 25-3 but had to wait until the second half to increase their tally but with a stiff wind at their backs further tries came swiftly despite the flow being disrupted by frequent replacements.
Outside centre Cory Allen, inside centre Tom Pascoe, Prydie, back row Ellis Jenkins and prop Gareth Thomas got over the line before Dragons back row forward Ieuan Jones, so impressive for Pontypool last season, went over with a powerful charge.
Hooker Darran Harris finished things off with try number 11 in what a game that was akin to a training session with Prydie adding his eighth conversion.
Wales scorers: tries – E Walker, M Morgan, T Prydie (2), R Jones, C Allen, T Pascoe, E Jenkins, G Thomas, I Jones, D Harris; conversions – T Prydie (8); penalty – T Prydie
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