New Zealand: 18 (Sam Nock, Sean Stevenson tries; Jordie Barrett 2 pen, 1 con) Wales: 17 (Joe Thomas try; Daniel Jones 4 pen)
For the first time New Zealand has missed the semi-finals of the World Rugby U20 Championships. Despite beating Grand Slam winners Wales in their final pool game, New Zealand is playing off for consolation prizes.
England (Pool A), Ireland (Pool B) and Argentina (Pool C) topped their respective groups unbeaten while South Africa was the highest ranked second place finisher earning 11 points in Pool C, one more than New Zealand.
New Zealand only led Wales for a minute, but did enough to win.
In the 77th minute New Zealand was down 17-15 when reserve prop Alex Fidow burst 25-metres into the Welsh 22. Eight rucks later Wales was caught offside and conceded a penalty. From the advantage second-five Jordie Barrett cross-kicked towards the wing where Sean Stevenson attempted to out leap his marker for the try. Welsh wing Tom Williams deliberately knocked the ball into touch and was yellow carded. No penalty try was given, but Barrett duly slotted the goal from in front 20-meters out to give New Zealand a narrow victory and consign Wales to their second solitary point defeat of the tournament.
Earlier Wales was quick to gain forward ascendency in the greasy conditions. In the third minute first-five Daniel Jones kicked the opening penalty and in the 8th minute he grubbed through for wing Joe Thomas to chase and score a try.
Rattled New Zealand mistakes piled up and Jones kicked a second penalty to make it 11-0 in the 12th minute.
New Zealand pilfered the kick-off and finally built some pressure. In the 14th minute wing Jonah Lowe lost the ball narrowly short of the line. Breaks by No.8 Marino Mikaele Tu'u and Stevenson resulted in no profit, but when the latter slipped through in the 26th minute, Barrett was able to put New Zealand on the scoreboard with a penalty.
Halfback Sam Nock was able to engineer a vital try for the Kiwis just before halftime. Wales was penalised after a five-meter scrum and instead of shooting for goal, Nock tapped quickly and caught the Welsh offside. Lock Seb Davies was sin-binned and another penalty was conceded by Wales. New Zealand opted for a scrum and Nock darted over. Barrett converted and it was 14-10 at the break.
In the 48th minute Barrett was yellow carded for a no-arms off the ball tackle and Jones kicked Wales 17-10 ahead. Despite the numerical disadvantage New Zealand monopolised possession in the Welsh 22, but was unable to breach the defense until the 57th minute when Stevenson dived over. Barrett returned in time to take the conversion, but sprayed an easy kick wide of the target.
Wales was content to play for territory, but lost the assured Jones in the 68th minute which inhibited their ability to do that effectively, despite demolishing New Zealand's scrum.
Despite New Zealand's scrum woes Fidow's late charge ironically won New Zealand the game.
New Zealand's most resolute forwards were locks Quentin Strange and Hamish Dalzell who won a pile of lineout ball and were busy in the tight exchanges. Despite conceding some needless penalties, Jacobson was a pest and Mikaele Tu'u carried with gusto. In the backs Stevenson was a class above everybody else in the game.
For Wales tighthead Dillon Lewis and blindside Tom Phillips were outstanding and Jones is a well organised player.
South Africa had to beat France with a four try bonus point to guarantee their progression into the final four. After half an hour that prospect looked unlikely when the Junior Springboks trailed by 24-13. France played some inspired rugby and tries were scored by Mathieu Tanguy, Romain Buros and Michael Simutoga. Outstanding blindside Zain Davids scored pulled a try back for South Africa in the 33rd minute to reduce the deficit to six at the break.
Despite a wobbly lineout, South Africa controlled the second-half as French discipline wavered. Wing Jan van der Merwe scored a brilliant individual try to nudge South Africa ahead 25-24. In the 61st minute New Zealand's fate was sealed. Following a powerful scrum, first-five Manie Libbok sailed through a hole and dashed 20-metres to score South Africa's fourth try. In the 65th minute illusive fullback and man of the match Curwin Bosch collected a Jt Jackson kick to give South Africa their fourth consecutive victory over France in tournament history.
The final score was 40-31 to South Africa.
In the semi-finals tournament hosts England tackle South Africa in a replay of the 2014 decider. Ireland and Argentina clash on the opposite side of the draw.
New Zealand will play Australia in a playoff for 5 v 8.
Wellington College have continued their resurgence defeating Christchurch Boys' High School 26-10 in the annual traditional fixture in the capital today.
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Ireland: 33 (Craig Jones, Adam McBurney, Max Deegan tries; Bill Johnston 2 pen, 2 con; Jonny McPhillips 2 pen, 1 con) New Zealand: 24 (Malo Tuitama 2, Jordie Barrett, Sean Stevenson tries; Barrett 2 con)
For the first time in five attempts at under-20 level, Ireland was better than the Baby Blacks. In the 78th minute New Zealand had a sniff of victory when trailing 30-24. New Zealand fumbled in their 22 and Ireland enjoying a vastly superior scrum pushed hard and won a penalty.
Reserve kicker Jonny McPhillips slotted the goal and New Zealand was consigned to defeat for the first time.
Earlier New Zealand appeared on course for victory when ahead 14-6 after 24 minutes.
Despite a spirited start by Ireland, New Zealand scored the first two tries of the match. In the seventh minute second-five Jordie Barrett powered over from close range. In the 24th minute he offloaded in a two-man tackle to Chiefs wing Sean Stevenson who outpaced an under-manned cover defense with a superb chip and chase.
Ireland rallied from 17-6 down to beat Grand Slam champions Wales. In the 27th minute their resilience was shown when Craig Jones rumbled over from a rolling maul. In the 34th minute hooker Adam McBurney barged over from another drive to give the Irish a 20-14 edge at halftime.
In the 71st minute Ireland led 23-19 and had a series of scrums five-meters shy of New Zealand's goal-line. Irish No.8 Max Deegan darted down a vacant short side and scored unopposed to make it 28-19.
McPhillips nailed the sideline conversion and New Zealand appeared to be toast. New Zealand won the kick-off and Ireland conceded a penalty. A quick tap by halfback Jonathan Taumateine caught Ireland in retreat and wing Malo Tuitama finished to make it 30-24 and suddenly hopes were revived.
This was to be Ireland's day however. Lock and Captain James Ryan was named man of the match, the best of an outstanding forward pack who bullied a shell-shocked New Zealand. New Zealand faces Wales in their final pool game.
The winner will almost certainly make the semi-finals, the loser will go home.
Some slick tries from the latest games at the U20 Championship
Historic first win for Ireland over the Baby Blacks, check our the highlights here
The New Zealand team to face Ireland on Sunday in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship 2016 in Manchester, England, is as follows:
1. Ayden Johnstone
2. Leni Apisai (C)
3. Sosefo Kautai
4. Quinten Strange
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Luke Jacobson
7. Mitchell Jacobson
8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
9. Sam Nock
10. Stephen Perofeta
11. Malo Tuitama
12. Jordie Barrett
13. Patelesio Tomkinson
14. Shaun Stevenson
15. Jordan Trainor
16. Asafo Aumua
17. Sean Paranihi
18. Alex Fidow
19. Hamish Dalzell
20. Dalton Papali’i
21. Jonathan Taumateine
22. TJ Va’a
23. Jonah Lowe
Head Coach Scott Robertson, along with Assistant Coaches Craig Philpott and Willie Rickards, have named a team with just three new faces from the selection which defeated Georgia in their opening game. The forward pack, which competed well with the powerful Georgians in the 55-0 victory, remains unchanged. “We haven’t got too much time to make too many changes as a group,” Robertson explained.
“There’s got to be subtle moves and slights tweaks to structures, but you have to have some rotation, you can’t play five games in a row because of the fatigue factor.”
He was pleased with the initial hit-out against a Georgian team making their debut appearance at this level, with his side running in nine tries, including seven from the backline.
“It was very successful and a really satisfying performance from a lot of points. We got through unscathed and we trusted our systems. The boys kept their attention. We had a couple of scrum resets, but it was everything we hoped to get out of the game.
“Performance-wise obviously Mitch Jacobson stood out. He played the whole game and got man of the match and it was probably the strongest performance he’s had in three years he’s been playing under 20s.
“Sam Nock also showed his class, and why he’s a Super Rugby player, he just needs game time. I was very pleased with his leadership and his pass. Shaun Stevenson and Jordie Barrett had strong games as well.”
Nock retains his place in the nine jersey, and will form a new combination with Stephen Perofeta at first-five, replacing TJ Va’a who drops to the bench. Stevenson switches from full back to the right wing to accommodate Jordan Trainor’s first appearance, while Malo Tuitama completes the back three after coming on as a replacement and touching down in the opening game.
Robertson was impressed with the contribution from his bench against Georgia and will be looking for more of the same against the Irish.
“The impact off the bench is the strength of the squad: we talk about 23s not 15s. When you name a side, it’s how you create a group when you play 80 minutes, the strength and power of the boys who played off the bench just created a little bit more. When the rain set in it became pretty torrential very quickly, but they finished the game well for us. We got a result, we rolled the bench with 20 minutes to go and we had plenty of subs left. That was part of the plan, so we kept the guys fresh for the next four games.”
He is expecting another tough challenge against an Ireland side who squeaked home 26-25 against their Celtic cousins Wales in the first round. “Any Irish side is strong and passionate. All the Six Nations squads are really strong, especially around set piece, and there are some really good boys who will be a real challenge for us.
“We know their strengths around their line out and getting down to our end of the field and putting pressure on us, so we need to mitigate this as much as we can, trust our defensive system, minimise our penalties and when we get the ball we hold on to it.”
New Zealand v Ireland will be broadcast live on SKY Sports 1 from 12.20am NZT.
New Zealand U20 playing schedule (local times):
Tuesday, 7 June (Wednesday 8 June, NZT)
New Zealand 55-0 Georgia
Saturday, 11 June 1.30pm (Sunday 12 June, 12.30am NZT) v Ireland, Manchester City Academy, Manchester
Wednesday, 15 June 5.30pm (Thursday 16 June, 4.30am NZT) v Wales, AJ Bell Stadium, Salford
Semi-finals will be played on 20 June ahead of the 25 June final.
College of Origin for our All Blacks. Big thanks to all the schools for helping to develop these players.
1. Joe Moody (11) - Christs College
2. Dane Coles (36) - Paraparaumu/Wellington College
3. Owen Franks (78) - Christchurch Boys High
4. Luke Romano (22) - Christchurch Boys High
5. Brodie Retallick (47) - Christchurch Boys High
6. Jerome Kaino (67) - Papakura/St Kents
7. Sam Cane (31) - Tauranga Boys High School
8. Kieran Read – captain (84)Rosehill College
9. Aaron Smith (47) - Feilding High School
10. Aaron Cruden (37) - Palmerston North Boys
11. Julian Savea (41) - Rongotai College
12. Ryan Crotty (15) - Shirley Boys' High School
13. Malakai Fekitoa (13) - Liahona High School/Wesley College
14. Waisake Naholo (3) - Wanganui City College
15. Ben Smith (48) - Kings High School Dunedin
16. Nathan Harris (2) - Tauranga Boys High School
17. Wyatt Crockett (45) - Nelson College/Otago Boys High
18. Charlie Faumuina (33) - Papatoetoe High School
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (7) - St Peters College
20. Ardie Savea - Rongotai College
21. TJ Perenara (17) - Mana College
22. Beauden Barrett (36) - Francis Douglas Memorial College
23. Seta Tamanivalu - Lelean Memorial School & Saint Kentigern College
New Zealand: 55 (Caleb Makene 2, Sean Stevenson, Sam Nock, Jonah Lowe, Mitchell Jacobson, TJ Va'a, Malo Tuitama, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a tries; Jordie Barrett 4 con, Stephen Perofeta) Georgia: 0
New Zealand have opened their defense of the IRB Junior World Championships with a resounding 55-0 victory over Georgia. In the opening minute Chiefs fullback Sean Stevenson scored a try and that signalled a tough evening was in order for tournament debutants Georgia. Despite conditions deteriorating considerably in the second-half, when heavy rain lashed the AJ Bell Stadium surface, New Zealand maintained their momentum throughout scoring four tries in first-half and five in the second.
The only period of sustained defense New Zealand was subject to extended from the 57th minute to the 60th minute when they foiled a series of lineout drives and pedestrian pick and goes by Georgia, whose scrum was more resolute than their defense. Perhaps the pick of New Zealand's tries was scored by wing Jonah Lowe in the 29th minute. Second-five Jordie Barrett broke at halfway and jabbed a perfectly weighted left-foot kick forward for Jonah Lowe to gather and score.
Lowe's fellow winger Caleb Makene was involved in the scoring as well, dotting down twice. In the 31st minute he crossed for a particularly delightful try when Stevenson in traffic flicked a silky offload to the Napier BHS old boy. New Zealand's back-three caused Georgia constant hassles and the way they linked was a real positive in the Baby Blacks display.
Openside Mitchell Jacobson in his third year in the team had a busy game winning turnover ball and scoring a second-half try while TJ Va'a survived 80 minutes, a rare achievement in the last two years for the injury ravaged first-five. In the 54th minute he scored a try when he burrowed through a ruck near the goal line. New Zealand got plenty of impact from their bench. Hooker Asafo Aumua impressed with some strong carries and accurate lineout throwing.
Prop Sean Stoddard was a sturdy presence and Tuitama was full of running, nearly scoring a sensational 50m chip and chase try and later being rewarded when he supported a Stephen Perofeta break. Georgia had two players yellow-carded in the second-spell. Their best performers were lock Mikheil Babunashvili and openside Giorgi Tsutskiridze. In the other Pool A fixture Grand Slam Winners Wales were upset 26-25 by Ireland.
In Pool B Australia was shocked 15-10 by Scotland and England easily accounted for Italy 48-10. In Pool C France was stunned 24-15 Argentina and South Africa thrashed a gallant Japan 59-19.
Top 5 tries from day one at the World Rugby U20's - Great to see Johan Lowe using his wheels!
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