Baby Blacks power to win over Eng­land

The Napier Mail - - SPORT - STAFF RE­PORTER New Zealand Un­der-20 64 Un­der-20 17 Eng­land

An un­stop­pable Baby Blacks side has crushed Eng­land 64-17 in a record-break­ing fi­nal of the World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship in Tbil­isi.

But they had to do it without Hawke’s Bay player Ti­aan Fal­con, who was ruled out of the match af­ter be­ing con­cussed in the side’s semi­fi­nal win over France.

It is a blow for Fal­con, with the No 10 one of the best at this year’s cham­pi­onship. He and team mate Will Jor­dan have been nom­i­nated for the player of the tour­na­ment award.

In the fi­nal, pow­er­ful hooker Asafo Au­mua led the way with a hat-trick of tries as New Zealand crossed the line 10 times in the rout.

It is the most tries scored by any team in an un­der-20 fi­nal.

The game was ef­fec­tively over at half­time as New Zealand raced out to an early 40-7 lead, with Dal­ton Pa­pali’i and Pouri RaketeS­tones kick­ing things off by scor­ing in­side the open­ing 10 minute against an Eng­land team cap­tained by Zach Mercer, son of for­mer Ki­wis rugby league in­ter­na­tional Gary Mercer.

The Baby Blacks con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate with their strong ball run­ners run­ning riot through the English de­fence, even­tu­ally chalk­ing up the big­gest score­line for a fi­nal in the com­pe­ti­tion’s 10-year his­tory.

Cap­tain Luke Ja­cob­son, who iced the vic­tory with his sec­ond try of the game right be­fore full­time, was able to match the achieve­ment of his older brother Mitchell from two years ago by win­ning the tour­na­ment.

‘‘It feels amaz­ing, it’s been our goal for a long time - you feel it in­side,’’ Ja­cob­son said.

‘‘We just kept work­ing re­ally hard and played some good fi­nals footy,’’ he said.

Fal­con’s re­place­ment, Blues play­maker Stephen Pero­feta, was rushed into the squad dur­ing the week. Pero­feta kicked seven con­ver­sions and made one spec­tac­u­lar break in the first half, but the game re­ally be­longed to the dev­as­tat­ing for­ward pack, who ran in nine of New Zealand’s 10 tries.

It was the sixth time New Zealand have won the tour­na­ment.

(Dal­ton Pa­pali’i, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Asafo Au­mua 3, Isaia Walk­erLeawere, Luke Ja­cob­son 2, Josh McKay, Tom Christie tries; Stephen Pero­feta 7 con)

(Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell, Josh Bayliss tries; Max Malins con). HT: 40-7

New Zealand cel­e­brate their 64-17 win over Eng­land in the fi­nal. Above, Hawke’s Bay player Ti­aan Fal­con is in the run­ning for player of the tour­na­ment.

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