The Clark Laidlaw-coached side started strong in the first half with three tries orchestrated by playmaking fullback Harry Godfrey. The first came courtesy of a pinpoint cross kick into the arms of Sevens star Caleb Tangitau.
The second try was equally as polished as the ball was spread wide to Godfrey from a scum inside the Junior Wallabies ’22, Godfrey beat one defender before drawing another two in and letting a slick pass go to wing Macca Springer for the five-pointer.
Godfrey showed his off-loading ability in his third try assist when he let a one-handed flick go to Tangitau who had a lot of work to do to grab a double.
At 19-6 at halftime, the second half saw the Junior Wallabies score tries to Massimo De Lutiis and Harry O’Donnell to close the gap to just one point.
The New Zealand Under 20s defended stoutly in the final quarter to hold onto the tense victory and square the series.
The New Zealand Under 20 squad to contest the World Rugby Under 20 Championships in South Africa later in June will be named early this week.
New Zealand 19 (Caleb Tangitau 2, Macca Springer tries; Taha Kemara 2 con) Australia 18 (Massimo De Lutiis, Henry O’Donnell tries; Jack Bowen con, 2 pen). HT: 19-6
MATCH ONE: NZ U20 (26) v Junior Wallabies (34) - Monday 29 May, NZCIS, Wellington
MATCH TWO: NZ U20 (19) v Junior Wallabies (18) – Saturday 3 June, 4.30PM (NZST), Sky Stadium, WELLINGTON