Rugby: Baby Blacks hold off Australia

Australia and New Zealand scrum down during their pool B IRB Junior World Championships match in Vannes. Photo / Michel Renac
Australia and New Zealand scrum down during their pool B IRB Junior World Championships match in Vannes. Photo / Michel Renac

The New Zealand under-20s team have held off a strong challenge from Australia to earn their second group win at the IRB Junior World Championships in France.

The Baby Blacks were held scoreless in the second half but still managed to pip their transtasman rivals 14-10 in Vannes, crushing Australia's hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

An explosive 60 metre run by winger Fa'asiu Fuatai down the lefthand touchline, beating three Australian tacklers, set up flanker Joseph Edwards for New Zealand's only try of the game while first five Simon Hickey kicked nine points as they went into halftime with a 14-3 lead.

Australia hit back midway through the second half with a Luke Burton try but New Zealand held on in the final stages thanks to some staunch defence led by skipper Ardie Savea. The Hurricanes flanker pulled off a crucial turnover with Australia on attack deep inside New Zealand territory which ended the match.

New Zealand sit tied with Ireland atop group B who beat Fiji 46-3 earlier today. The two sides will meet on Friday.

New Zealand under-20s 14 (Joseph Edwards, try; Simon Hickey 3 pen)
Australia under-20s (Luke Burton, try; Reece Hodge con, pen) Halftime: 14-3

- nzherald.co.nz

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