NZ U21s start with big win

Fotopress     10 Jun 2005     Fotopress

The Colts scored seven tries, including a hat trick from winger James Somerset and a brace from centre Daniel Waenga.

“We expected the Six Nations Champions to come at us strongly from the start and we knew they were going to be hard,” said New Zealand captain Jamie Mackintosh.

The prop gave a solid display, moreso in the last quarter when the Welsh scrum was destroyed and four of the seven tries were scored.

New Zealand played with discipline, composure and a lot of patience – they did not have a wealth of possession yet it was what they did with it that counted.

“Wales probably had an edge on territory and possession,” confirmed coach Bryce Woodward. “Our defence was the key and the fact that we were prepared to play the ball in hand every time we had it.”

Wales started strongly, scoring a try in the fifth and the 24th minutes but William Ripia kept the Colts within reach with five penalties before speedy winger James Somerset scored the first of his three tries.

Ripia’s goal put the halftime score at an uncomfortable 22-15.

The second half saw the Colts forcing the Welsh into more mistakes with committed tackling and using the strong backs after the forwards had produced enough room for them to operate.

As the Welsh frustration grew, replacement No 8 Tom Smith was sent-off for stomping in an otherwise clean game. The score at that time, 34-15, almost doubled for New Zealand when the Welsh team was reduced to 14 men.

With 29 minutes left, the Colts upped the tempo, and wingers Somerset and Hosea Gear were unleashed. They were well supported by an ever present Liam Messam, who had a strong game at flanker.

James Somerset said: “I was happy with the work rate; some games you have to go working for a lot of work. Today we played with width which was good for us wingers. Every point counts in this tournament and having achieved a bonus point was also important.”

To which coach Bryce Woodward added: “There is still stuff to work on. We are not getting carried away. We have to assess a couple of injuries tomorrow and start focusing on the next game against Australia.”

For New Zealand: Tries by James Somerset (3), Daniel Waenga (2), Liam Messam and Hosea Gear; two goals and five penalties by William Ripia; three goals by Stephen Brett
For Wales: Try by Aled Brew; one try, one goal and one penalty by Aled Thomas

Australia, who will play New Zealand next Tuesday (4am NZ time) won their opening game 28-22 against Scotland. The other IRB U21 World Championship first round scores were: Argentina 65 – Canada 7; England 52 – Samoa 22; South Africa 81 – Italy 3 and France 31 – Ireland 23.