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NZ Under-20s make tournament final

Sportal.co.nz     18 Jun 2012    

Wales beat New Zealand 9-6 in pool play.

New Zealand will play host nation South Africa in the final after they beat Argentina 35-3 in the other semi-final. South Africa also suffered a pool play loss when going down to Ireland 19-23.

Wales led 6-0 after two early penalty goals but by the 29th minute they had been negated by two penalties landed by New Zealand first five-eighths Ihaia West. Then in the 38th minute blindside flanker Jimmy Tupou scored the side's first try.

Two minutes into the second half centre Jason Emery crossed for a try, both tries being converted by West.

Nine minutes later No.8 Jordan Taufua scored to give New Zealand a 25-6 lead and the final try was scored in the 63rd minute by prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

New Zealand captain Bryn Hall said the side had been disappointed with their effort when losing to Wales in pool play, their first loss in the tournament's history.

"I guess we have learned our lesson," he said, "we executed our game plan very well today, we played with a bit of width and we played much better with our kicking.

"The last time we played unfortunately we didn't use that facet of play so we played much better today.

"We always knew that Wales were going to come and fight, they are very, very passionate – just like New Zealand, very passionate on their rugby – so we knew that first 20 minutes were very crucial for us. We talked about it a lot through the week saying that last 10 minutes and first 10 minutes after half-time were very important," he said.

Coach Rob Penney said he was very pleased that the lessons had been learned during the tournament.

"I was just really rapt that the boys had been able to grow over the last 10 days or so. I think technically they did a really good job and got the right outcome so it was great.

"Certainly that was a massive bonus for us getting those tries either side of half-time, it really ripped the heart out of the Welsh.

"I don't think we are a side that is overly confident in what we are doing and that performance today, I think, will certainly give us a little bit of belief which is important," he said.

Wales captain Kirby Myhill said he felt Wales let themselves down.

"Our play in the contact area let us down and they just took us from there really.

"They played well today, we just didn't perform the way we have the whole tournament really, we let ourselves down to be honest," he said.

Coach Danny Wilson said: "They [New Zealand] are very strong and these conditions are what they like to play in and they showed what they are capable of doing, but having said that I don't think we performed anywhere near the accuracy that we have in this tournament.

"That might have a lot to do with New Zealand and the pressure they put on us, especially at the breakdown.

"We looked a little bit afraid to play in the first half and perhaps kicked away too much ball," he said.