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IRB Junior World Championship Final

IRB Junior World Championship Final
Sunday 22 Jun 2008 [21:14]

New Zealand became the first nation to win the IRB Junior World Championship title with a 38-3 defeat of England in the final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Sunday to crown a wonderful month of rugby in Wales.

Although it was a brave effort from coach Nigel Redman's side, it was not to be as New Zealand dominated a contest that saw England who were unbeaten in nine matches in 2008 until today restricted to a single penalty from the fly half Alex Goode.

A penalty from the full back Trent Renata inside five minutes handed the pre-tournament favourites the initiative, but within 90 seconds of that opening score England should have been level through a Goode penalty.

Unfortunately for the fly half his kick from 20 metres shaved the upright and allowed New Zealand to ultimately clear their lines.

Having beaten Australia and South Africa in their previous two games in this inaugural Under 20 competition and with a Six Nations Grand Slam firmly behind them, England were understandably confident of taking the ultimate scalp.

However Goode was proving to be anything but confident in front of the posts and his second poorly struck penalty shaved the opposite upright, leaving England to ponder what might have been.

Kade Poki, already a Super 14 winner with the Crusaders this year and like many of his team-mates a member of the side that won the last IRB Under 19 World Championship in 2007, made England pay when he scrambled over for a try in the 17th minute.

Renata's conversion handed the All Blacks a 10-point advantage inside the opening quarter, the try from Poki providing an injection of confidence in the New Zealand backline and from that juncture their free-flowing rugby left the 8,537-strong crowd thoroughly satisfied.

Goode found his range after 25 minutes to reduce the arrears, but such was the New Zealand dominance at the tackle area, that England found it as much as they could do to simply keep them at bay.

To their credit it was a defensive effort that restricted New Zealand to one further first half score, a penalty from the fly half Daniel Kirkpatrick two minutes into stoppage time.

However Renata's second penalty six minutes after the interval put further daylight between the sides and his third, six minutes later, made the game safe before centre Jackson Willison dived over in the corner for New Zealand's second try.

New Zealand did have replacement scrum half Aaron Smith sin-binned for not rolling away in the tackle after 65 minutes, but shortly after England were reduced to 14 men when flanker Calum Clark was sent off by referee Peter Fitzgibbon for a headbutt.

There was still more salt to rub into England's wounds in their first age grade final on the world stage, with replacement Andre Taylor and then Ryan Crotty scoring tries which Man of the Match Kirkpatrick duly converted.

The try put a huge smile on the face of Crotty, the centre having broken his ankle early in the IRB Under 19 World Championship final against South Africa last year and not been present to see Chris Smith lift the trophy that day.

Final Standings:
1. New Zealand
2. England
3. South Africa
4. Wales
5. Australia
6. France
7. Samoa
8. Argentina
9. Ireland
10. Scotland
11. Italy
12. Canada
13. Tonga
14. Fiji
15. Japan
16. USA


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Liberty Stadium, Landore, Swansea, SA1 2FA Tel: 08712 223 224 - Fri 23 Mar 2018 10:48:11