The National, Monday 17th June 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
AUSTRALIAN Under-20 loose-head Pettowa Paraka led the Junior Wallabies up front to outclass Fiji 46-12 in their final pool match at the IRB Junior World Championship at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes, France, last Friday.
Missing out on game time in the Australia’s first two losses to Ireland and the Junior All Blacks, the 19-year-old Papua New Guinean wasted no time letting out his frustration with a number of devastating tackles and some strong runs to pave the way for the Australians.
Pettowa was one of the 11 changes to the starting side against Fiji that coach Adrian Thompson made to restore some Australian pride.
Only captain Curtis Browning, lock Thom Staniforth, flyhalf Reece Hodge and wing Alex Northham retained their starting spots.
Young Western Highlander Pettowa came in for Silatolu Latu while his club mate Andrew Ready (hooker) from East Tigers and Allan Alaalotoa at tighthead for the Junior Wallabies.
Thompson made significant changes to the side that fell 14-10 to New Zealand.
With losses to Ireland, 19-15, and New Zealand already in pool play, the Australians are out of the race for the title and must now commit their energy to improving on last year’s eighth placing.
Despite the final score, Fiji played their entertaining style of rugby all the way to the siren, much to the delight of the capacity French crowd.
Australia will now play Argentina on Tuesday.
Australian Under-20 coach Adrian Thompson said the team will now concentrate its efforts on bettering last year’s ranking.
“We finished eighth last year, so we want to do better,” Thompson said.
“It is an exciting pool, I think it is Ireland, France, ourselves and Argentina, so that is going to be a fantastic pool, great opposition and lots to look forward to.
“The only game we probably haven’t played up to our expectations was the first one, against Ireland, but the Irish showed tonight they are obviously a very good team by coming so close to defeating New Zealand.
“We were excellent against New Zealand and were rewarded for our hard work tonight.”