Jack Bowen and Teddy Wilson showed how potent the Wallaby genes run in their families with starring roles in today’s landslide Australian Under-20s victory.
Flyhalf Bowen, the son of 1990s Wallaby Scott, scored a try and had a scheming hand in three more when the Fijian Under-20s were thrashed 58-5 in the wet.
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Halfback Wilson made his mark over the final 25 minutes as a replacement when the traffic was all one way at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Stadium.
He is the son of 1999 World Cup winning flanker Dave but with a spiral pass.
Sharp-stepping Ben Dowling also had a day to remember with two tries and selection in Australia’s sevens team for the Commonwealth Games.
His slick finishing showed exactly why he’s a weapon in the open spaces of sevens rugby.
The St Joseph’s College product from Sydney is a winger on the rise at 20.
The Fijians are not highly rated at Under-20s level but the nine-try showing from the Junior Wallabies was exactly the confidence-booster needed after the unexpected 24-21 loss to Argentina last Friday night.
Bowen, backrowers George Gibson and Zac Hough, prop Paddy Tagg and fullback Mac Grealy were other standouts.
The Junior Wallabies were switched on to what it would take to win in the wet conditions which deteriorated to a downpour to end the first half.
Bowen and Grealy both set up first half tries with well-weighted grubber kicks for chasers in gold jerseys, one each to Grealy and winger David Vaihu.
The Fijians didn’t have the bulldozing scrum that set up the Argentinians for their win and the slippery conditions muted the great handling strengths of the error-prone Fijians.
The young Australians magnified the pressure on the Fijian handling with plenty of smothering defence, including two big early shots from Tagg, the former Cranbrook schoolboy.
The Junior Wallabies made an early 12-0 jump when the Fijians were down a man through a yellow card.
Bowen showed a nice variety of skills. A sharp pass set up the opening Jayden Blake try, his grubber presented Grealy with another and the best was still to come.
From a set play off a scrum midway through the second half, he popped a ball into space so Vaihu could surge onto it from 25m out to score. His own inside step gave Bowen a deserved try late in the game.
Dowling scored twice in eight minutes to end the first half. Grealy’s stutter step to hold his Fijian defender was the Queensland Reds back at his best. His backhanded offload to Dowling was a beauty considering the conditions.
Dowling had more work to do for his second try down the left touchline with Gibson delivering a no-look pass on the end of a raid and Dowling fending off the final defender to score.
Wilson was denied one try by a knock-on earlier in the play but made sure of a five-pointer on full-time with a ruckbase dart.
He showed plenty of energy after Sunshine Coast local Louis Wercon had made an excellent contribution from halfback with his snappy pass for the first 45 minutes until a yellow card for making a tackle when off-side.
On Sunday afternoon (4pm) at the same venue, the Junior Wallabies will have to step up two levels when they confront the New Zealand Under-20s, who have big wins over Fiji (74-5) and Argentina (32-9) in this Oceania tournament.
Skipper Mac Grealy is delighted there is confidence and winning form to build on.
“There were definitely a lot of disappointed boys after Game 1 so we are definitely pleased with the way we bounced back with a much better display,” Grealy told broadcaster Stan Sport.
“For a lot of guys it’s their first time in the green-and-gold. It’s definitely an awesome feeling to have the first win in the green-and-gold.
“We showed a lot of character. We’ll get back to training for Sunday and that game should be a ripper.”
Junior Wallabies 58 (B Dowling 2, D Vaihu 2, J Blake 2, M Grealy, J Bowen, T Wilson tries; J Bowen 5 con, pen goal) beat Fiji Under-20s 5 (P Mailulu try)