Scotland's hopes of winning a pool match were dashed by defeat to Samoa at the ECOLight Stadium, Pukehoke in the second round of fixtures yesterday.
With hosts New Zealand next up and Italy having scored a surprise win over Argentina hopes of Scotland surviving in the top tier have diminished markedly.
The young Scots produced an improved performance, matching the Samoans on the try count with three touchdowns, but losing out to the Pacific Islanders in goal kicking after matching their opponents for most of the first half.
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"We scored three cracking tries and a lot of boys really stuck their hands up today," said Sean Lineen, the Scotland under-20 head coach. "Jamie Ritchie was excellent in his first game; Jamie Farndale was full of energy around the park and Zander Fagerson made a huge impression when he came on."
He added: "Unfortunately, we were exposed in the transition phases of play, and sometimes we were just that fraction of a second too slow, but this is all part of the boys' development and the sharpness will hopefully come with playing at this high level. Had we kicked our goals, the game would have been a draw."