New Zealand Under 20s finish tournament on a high

World Rugby     23 Jun 2019     World Rugby

Although the seventh place finish will be dissected and decried by fans and pundits alike, New Zealand showed great heart to avoid three straight losses at the tournament and defeat an Irish team hardened by the very tough Under 20s Six Nations tournament. 


New Zealand went into the tournament boasting a much-vaunted backline full of talent from Investec Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup and the All Blacks Sevens team. Despite being kept quiet in losses to South Africa and Wales, the shackles were off in Rosario with three tries between wings Leicester Fainga’anuku (Crusaders) and Etene Nanai-Seturo (Chiefs) in the opening 20 minutes to help New Zealand to a well-deserved 26-5 halftime lead.

Ireland came out strong in the second half with two quick tries to slash the lead to 26-17 and cause some concern for the New Zealand fans in the crowd in Rosario.

With an extended bench in effect as part of a World Rugby trial, New Zealand’s reserves grabbed the momentum from Ireland in a dominant final 20 minutes.
Tries to front-rowers Shilo Klein and Tamaiti Williams secured the 40-17 victory and seventh place for New Zealand.

The New Zealand Under 20s have long been a powerhouse at the World Rugby Under 20 Championships with six titles since the inception of the tournament in 2008. But if the 2019 edition has proven anything it is that the standard of all teams in competition has improved immensely.

Meanwhile in the final, France edged Australia 24-23 in a thrilling encounter to secure back-to-back World Rugby Under 20 titles.

New Zealand
40 (Etene Nanai-Seturo 2, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Oliver Norris, Shilo Klein, Tamaiti Williams tries, Rivez Reihana 5 con) Ireland 17 (Tierney-Martin, Baird, Wycherley tries, Flannery con)
HT: 26-5