Wales finished in fifth place in the league table at the end of the pool games with 10 points from their two games (5 against Scotland and another 5 against Japan), one behind England whose 11 points earned them a semi final place against top placed South Africa. The other semi final on Wednesday will pit second place New Zealand against third placed Australia.
The best position that Wales can hope for now at the knockout stages on Wednesday and Sunday is fifth. They will compete in the 5th to 8th place play offs, their first task on Wednesday to play Argentina and a victory against the Pumitas would earn a final match on Sunday against the winners of the France v Romania game.
Coach Ian Jones praised his side's display in scoring 13 tries but regretted their opening display against New Zealand. "We were unlucky in one way of having to play such a strong side as New Zealand in our first game." said Jones. "We were very cold in the first half, recovered to outscore them in the second half and finished very strongly.
"We have improved appreciably since then and the boys could have done nothing more against the Japanese. So we must stay very positive, rise to the challenge of beating Argentina on Wednesday and then go on to clinch fifth place."
Once Neath's nippy little scrum half Martin Roberts slipped through for a try after six minutes, it was only a matter of how many tries and points would Wales rack up against an outclassed Japanese side. With streams of possession, Wales attacked non stop with Roberts, Swansea full back Aaron Bramwell and Llanelli wing Darren Daniel all getting a brace of tries in a facile win. Martin Roberts ended up with 22 points from his two tries and six conversions.
The other Welsh try scorers were lock Will Jones (St Teilo's CS), Cardiff No. 8 Adam Powell, Newport scrum half Alex Walker, Mumbles flanker Ben Lewis, Glantaf wing Jamie Roberts and Bedwas prop Richard Wilkes. There was also a penalty try. It still left Wales agonisingly short of qualification for the semi finals.
Tries: A Bramwell (2), D Daniel (2), M Roberts (2), A Powell, A Walker, B Lewis, J Roberts, R Wilkes, W Jones, pen try
Cons: M Roberts (6) A Bramwell (2)
Pen: Y Kawamoto
Wales U19s v Japan
A Bramwell (Swansea & Ospreys)
D Daniel (Llanelli & Scarlets)
L Ryland (Llanhari, Bridgend Ath & Ospreys) 58')
T Cheeseman (Bath & Dragons)
J Spratt (Neath Ath & Ospreys)
J Roberts (Glantaf, Rumney & Blues)
A Smith (Caerleon CS, Newport HSOB & Dragons)
M Roberts (Neath & Ospreys) (rep A Walker (Newport & Dragons) 53')
N Downs (Caerphilly & Dragons) (rep R Gill ( Cymer, Ystrad Rhondda & Blues) 53')
D George (Llangennech & Scarlets)
R Wilkes (Bedwas & Dragons) (rep C Mitchell (Neath & Ospreys) 46')
B Davies (Glam Coll, Beddau & Blues) (rep D Lloyd-Jones, (Mumbles & Ospreys) 56')
W Jones (St Teilo's CS, St Peters & Blues)
W Waldron (Newport & Dragons) (rep B Lewis (Mumbles & Ospreys) 47')
A Powell (Cardiff & Blues)
S Phillips (Carmarthen Quins & Scarlets)
Referee: C Pollock (NZ)
Star Choice: Martin Roberts
South Africa 15 France 9
Australia 23 Ireland 0
Argentina 26 Georgia 6
Wales 81 Japan 3
Scotland 7 Romania 6
New Zealand 24 England 17
Matches Wed 14 April
Position 1-4 play-offs:
South Africa v England
New Zealand v Australia
Position 5-8 play-offs:
Wales v Argentina
France v Romania
Position 9-12 play-offs:
Ireland v Japan
Scotland v Georgia
Report by Tom Hughes