(Reuters) - France won their second successive World Rugby Under-20 Championship on Saturday with flyhalf Louis Carbonel kicking 14 points to help them to a 24-23 victory over Australia in the final in Rosario.
The French won their first title on home soil last year and became the third team to secure successive victories in the tournament after England (2013-14) and New Zealand (2008-2011).
Australia, playing in their second final, were left to rue a poor kicking performance as they failed to convert first-half tries by Mark Nawaqanita and hooker Lachlan Lonergan.
They also missed two penalties in the second half in a game that had seven lead changes, with French hooker Theo Lauchaud and prop Alex Burin both crossing in the first half.
France held an 18-13 advantage at the break but Australia’s Harry Wilson scored his side’s third try to put the Junior Wallabies up 20-18.
Carbonel, who had been instrumental in France’s campaign last year, then slotted two of four penalties, his final successful kick giving the French the 24-23 advantage.
“The scoreboard shows how close the match was,” said Australia captain Fraser McReight.
“It was back-and-forth and just point after point from each team. Credit to France, they played really well but I am super gutted for my team.
“We really lifted the tempo in the second half but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to get the job done.”
South Africa beat hosts Argentina 41-16 to clinch third place while England finished fifth after a 45-26 win over Wales.
Six-times champions New Zealand beat Ireland 40-17 but their seventh-place finish was their lowest since the tournament began in 2008.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford