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NZ knocked out of junior world champs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/06/2016

Alex Fidow of New Zealand breaks clear through the Wales defence during the World Rugby U20 Championship match between New Zealand and Wales at AJ Bell Stadium on June 15, 2016 in Salford, England. © Getty Alex Fidow of New Zealand breaks clear through the Wales defence during the World Rugby U20 Championship match between New Zealand and Wales at AJ Bell Stadium on June 15, 2016 in Salford, England. Defending champions New Zealand have suffered their worst result at a junior world rugby championship after being eliminated at the group stage in Manchester.

Despite finishing with an 18-17 win over Wales, New Zealand placed second in their pool behind Ireland and didn't do enough to finish as the tournament's best runners-up.

That fourth and final semi-final slot went to South Africa, who picked up a bonus point in beating France 40-31 later on Wednesday to join unbeaten trio England, Ireland and Argentina.

Five-time champions New Zealand had never missed the semi-finals in eight previous tournaments but their chances took a major dent when the lost 33-24 to Ireland last Saturday.

After thumping Georgia 55-0 in their opening game, the New Zealand forward pack struggled for set piece parity against both the Irish and the Welsh.

Jordie Barrett of New Zealand kicks a penalty to win the match during the World Rugby U20 Championship match between New Zealand and Wales at AJ Bell Stadium on June 15, 2016 in Salford, England. © Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Jordie Barrett of New Zealand kicks a penalty to win the match during the World Rugby U20 Championship match between New Zealand and Wales at AJ Bell Stadium on June 15, 2016 in Salford, England. It took a last-minute penalty to second five-eighth Jordie Barrett to see off Wales, who had led 11-0 early on through a try to centre Joe Thomas.

A try to halfback Sam Nock after the halftime hooter had sounded left New Zealand 14-10 down.

Barrett, the younger brother of All Black Beauden, was a central figure in the second spell.

He was shown a yellow card soon after the break but, with his team trailing 17-10, returned to help set up a try to fullback Shaun Stevenson.

His missed conversion from a handy position left his team behind but he made amends from a wider angle at the death.

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