WALES Under-20s were unable to notch a second stunning win against New Zealand after being overpowered in yesterday’s Junior World Championship semi-final at Newlands.
Danny Wilson’s side produced the biggest upset in age-grade rugby history in the pool stages when they became the first conquerors of the Baby Blacks.
The dubious reward for that stunning 9-6 win in a Stellenbosch mudbath was a rematch after New Zealand secured a place in the last four courtesy of being the best runner-up of the three groups. And
the tournament favourites duly got their revenge with a four tries to none victory in Cape Town.
Wales, who were in the semi-finals for the first time since Sam Warburton skippered them in 2008, made a terrific start and were good value for their 6-0 lead courtesy of a pair of penalties by new
Dragons signing Tom Prydie.
Their solid set piece laid the foundations for their success but New Zealand gradually grew into the game, dominated possession and their big ball carriers started making an impression.
The Baby Blacks levelled it up at 6-6 thanks the the boot of fly-half Ihaia West and then took command thanks to a pair of converted tries either side of half-time.
First blindside flanker Jimmy Tupou powered over from close range to give his side a 13-6 lead at the break and then outside centre Jason Emery finished off a slick move along the three-quarters to
make it 20-6.
Wales came firing straight back with an impressive sustained attack in the New Zealand 22 but they were thwarted by whole-heated defence.
And it was game over in the 53rd minute when stunning handling allowed powerhouse number eight Jordan Taufua to finish expertly in the right corner to make it 25-6.
Huge loosehead Ofa Tu’ungafasi – who tips the scales at 125kg – barged over to make it 30-6 after 64 minutes to round off an excellent second half performance by New Zealand.
Wales will attempt to finish a memorable campaign on a high when they return to Newlands for Friday’s third/fourth play-off.
Wales scorers: penalties – T Prydie (2).
New Zealand scorers: tries – J Tupou, J Emery, J Taufua, O Tu’ungafasi; conversions – A West (2); penalties – A West (2).