The Leicester Tigers trio of players at the World Under-20s Championship enjoyed a big day in the third round with wins for Wales and England.
Tommy Reffell and Sam Costelow played a full part in a 44-28 win for Wales against Fiji before club colleague Joe Heyes started in the front row for England as they ended Australia’s unbeaten start with a 56-33 victory in Santa Fe.
Both England and Wales go into the second-tier play-offs after two wins from three games.
Australia paid a heavy price for the loss of No8 Patrick Tafa to a red card for a high tackle just two minutes into their game as England showed no mercy with six first-half tries.
Early scores from captain Fraser Dingwall and Ollie Sleightholme sent England on their way and, although the Junior Wallabies pegged it back to 14-12 with quarter of an hour played, two tries from Ted Hill allowed England to pull away again and secure the bonus point.
Tom de Glanville and Aaron Hinkley added further scores, all converted by Josh Hodge, as England led 42-12 at the break and Manu Vunipola and Tom Willis got on the scoresheet in the second half.
Wales had Tigers flanker Reffell among the tryscorers in their bonus-point win over the enterprising Fijians.
The Welsh capitalised on the platform provided by their forward pack while Fiji looked to keep the ball alive as much as possible, showing invention in attack and a willingness to offload to support runners, which led to an exciting contest.
After a win over hosts Argentina and defeat to defending champions France, Wales finished in credit, though they were never more than arm’s length in front until deep into the final quarter of the game.
Reffell continued his good work in the tournament with another 80-minute effort in the back row, winning some important turnovers on the floor as well as contributing a try from a forward drive in the first half, while Costelow also came through the full match, starting at 12 but also filling in at scrum-half during the second half.
Following the final whistle, the back-rower said: “It was a very hard game, like we expected, [because] we know the way the Fijians play - it’s proper rugby, and the type of rugby you grow up wanting to play.
“I think everyone knows how physical the Fijians are, they play rugby from when they’re very young, so they do everything really good technically - tackling, passing, offloading - so we didn’t under-estimate them at all as we know exactly how good they are individually and as a team.
“They were always going to bring it to us in this final game of the group stage, so credit to the boys for hanging on and getting a good win.”