New Zealand 64 England17
New Zealand are back on top of the world.
They have reclaimed the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Georgia, defeating England 64-17 in the final in devastating fashion, scoring 10 tries to three.
It is their sixth crown in the 10-year history of the tournament and was a record score in the decider, eclipsing the 62-17 win over Australia in 2010, when Tyler Bleyendaal was captain and Dave Rennie the coach.
The damage was done in the first spell, as New Zealand raced to a 40-7 lead with a compelling mix of high speed rugby and support play. It was high risk, high reward and it paid off in spades.
Flanker Dalton Papali'i opened the account, diving over the top of the ruck. Wing Caleb Clarke was a constant menace on the left flanks, while fullback Will Jordan set up two tries with long breaks. Halfback Ere Enari and captain Luke Jacobson operated with quiet efficiency, and then the latter uncorked two tries to cap a fine tournament.
The individual star of the final, however, was Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, who scored a hat-trick, including one solo try in which he beat no less than six defenders before being subbed at around 65 minutes with what looked to be rib injury.
New Zealand were clinical off turnovers and stretched and then broke the England defence. Even when prop Ezekiel Lindinmuth was binned for a late and high tackle, they did not lose their structures.
Stephen Perofeta played well at first five. His goalkicking was up and down, with seven from 12, but he did just fly in three days before the final.
England captain Zach Mercer summed up New Zealand's dominance.
"I've never witnessed a team that just keeps coming like that with that spirit."
New Zealand head coach Craig Philpott was rapt.
"It's pretty exciting. It's not every day you get to say you are world champion," says the Hawke's Bay coach.
New Zealand Under 20s 64 (Asafo Aumua 3, Luke Jacobson 2, Dalton Papali'i, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Josh McKay, Tom Christie tries; Stephen Perofeta 7 con) England Under 20s 17 (Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell, Josh Bayliss tries; Max Malins con) HT: 40-7