Wales U20 face crunch Fiji clash

IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Wales v Fiji, fifth-place semi-final

Stadio Plebiscito, Padua, Italy
Wednesday, 22 June
1700 BST
Rheon James scored the pick of Wales U20's eight tries against Italy
Rheon James scored the pick of Wales U20's eight tries against Italy

Wales Under 20 face their Fijian counterparts in the Junior World Championships fifth-place play-off semi-finals on Wednesday at Padua.

Richard Webster's side beat hosts Italy 56-6 to end their Pool A campaign while Fiji beat Tonga 36-18 in Pool B.

If Wales beat Fiji they will face the winners of the South Africa-Ireland clash.

But defeat would condemn Wales to the prospect of playing off to finish no higher than seventh.

Wales finished seventh in 2010 and sixth in 2009 and are hoping to improve on that standing despite losing 92-0 to New Zealand at the pool stage - their record defeat at this level.

Fiji lost 24-12 to France and 50-25 to Australia before overcoming their Tongan counterparts.

But Wales assistant coach Rob Appleyard says Wales can go into Wednesday's clash at Stadio Plebiscito with confidence boosted following the win over Italy U20.

"We needed to produce a performance to feel proud of against Italy following the loss to New Zealand," said Appleyard.

"The Kiwis proved that it is an achievable aim to play rugby at that kind of intensity and that is the biggest lesson for us that we want to take into our remaining games.

"We did that in part against Italy, scoring eight tries and showing glimpses of some open, expansive rugby and we put a lot of energy and effort into the game.

"But we also made mistakes in attack and defence and let slip a number of scoring opportunities.

"However, you only make progress by playing at this level against other international sides and we are lucky to have the chance to play two more intense games in this competition.

"It's a good platform to build on and we are confident we can continue to improve as a team throughout the remainder of this tournament."

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