NZ U-20 take no prisoners against Ireland

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     09 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Scoring 11 tries without answer, including hat-tricks to Caleb Clark and William Jordan, the New Zealanders finishing top of their pool to qualify for the semi-finals.


It was an emphatic display, as much for the effort on defence, which saw the New Zealanders have to make more than 160 tackles at a rate three times greater than the Irish who did have some long periods of play in the NZ 22m area without being able to get the ball over the line.

Ireland made a powerful start, cashing in on NZ second five-eighths Orbyn Leger's dropping of the kick to start the game. A superb Irish scrum put the pressure on New Zealand and it took some desperate defence to hold Ireland out and they were luck to concede only a penalty goal.

In the 10th minute the New Zealanders replied when from a lineout, blindside wing Clarke burst in to take the ball on the move at first receiver. He ran around the back of the lineout and then headed back towards the sideline to run round the Irish defender to score a superb solo try.

Some untidy play and lack of control from both sides preceded New Zealand's second try when from a ruck first five-eighths Tiaan Falcon sent a long pass to his centre Braydon Ennor who took an outside gap at speed, to feed fullback William Jordan in for the try.

Ennor had his reward in the 21st minute when halfback Ereatara Enari ran the blindside and fed Leger who ran down the right wing and drew the defence before feeding Ennor who had a clear run to the line.

Two minutes later, building on a strong midfield drive by powerful hooker Asafo Aumua, the ball was released to the backs. Falcon fed on the inside to Leger, who passed over the top to Ennor who got the ball to Jordan who out-paced the defence on a 35m run to the line.
There was no relief for Ireland after the break as after only two minutes flanker Tom Christie peeled off the back of a lineout maul to score then almost from the restart, Auvua charged down the middle of the field in a powerful surge before slipping the ball to Enari for the try.

But the tackling toll as Ireland mounted long periods either side of half-time in the New Zealand 22m, at one stage New Zealand were making tackles at a ratio of 3:1. Then the referee lost patience with the New Zealanders and in the 53rd minute he sin-binned lock Isaia Walker-Leawere for entering a maul on the side, then four minutes later after a warning his locking partner Sam Caird joined him in the sin-bin.

Being reduced to 13 men didn't halt the flow of tries, however, as some more smart passing created a chance which Clarke took advantage of to score his third try in the 60th minute.

It became a rout as replacement wing Josh McKay came on and at his first chance he scored before first five-eighths Tiaan Falcon stepped through the defence to score a try. He wasn't as successful with his goal-kicking in landing only five conversions.

New Zealand will now face France in a semifinal at 4.30am (NZT) on Wednesday 14 June while England and South Africa will contest the other semifinal at 2am (NZT) on Wednesday 14 June.

Scorers: New Zealand Under-20 69 (Caleb Clarke 3, William Jordan 2, Braydon Ennor, Tom Christie, Ereatara Enari, Josh McKay, Tiaan Falcon tries; Tiaan Falcon 5 con) Ireland Under-20 3 (Conor Fitzgerald pen). HT: 31-3