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NZ crush England in world under-20 final

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago

New Zealand have stormed to a sixth under-20 rugby world championship title after overwhelming England 64-17 in the final in Georgia.

Nine of New Zealand's 10 tries were scored by forwards, including a hat-trick to hooker Asafo Aumua and a brace to captain and flanker Luke Jacobson at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi.

Seven of the tries were converted by Stephen Perofeta, capping a memorable month for the first five-eighth who played a part in the Blues' defeat of the touring British and Irish Lions.

A lop-sided decider was wrapped up by halftime, the Baby Blacks leading the defending champions 40-7.

Flanker Dalton Papali'i and prop Pouri Rakete-Stones powered over in the first 10 minutes to set the tone for New Zealand, who dominated a strong English pack up front.

The Craig Philpott-coached Baby Blacks played with superior speed and precision, winning the majority of collisions and making excellent use of their possession.

By halftime, Aumua had crossed twice while Jacobson and lock Isaia Walker-Leawere had also registered tries.

Second-half tries went to Aumua and Jacobson, along with reserves Josh McKay and Tom Christie. Aumua's 60th-minute try was the standout score, brushing aside six defenders on a remarkable 15m surge to the line.

Jacobson said there was a determination from his team not to avoid the same pattern as their semi-final win over France, when they eased off in the second half after opening up a large lead.

"There was a lot of chat about the semi-final and the score we had at halftime. We really wanted to put the foot on the throat," he said.

"It feels amazing. There's been a huge buildup to it, not just this week but since November."

It is New Zealand's sixth world title, while England have won three crowns, all coming in the previous four editions of the annual tournament.

Earlier, South Africa beat France 37-15 to secure third place.

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