New Zealand Under 20s throughout the years

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The team won all nine matches on tour with future World Rugby Hall of Famer Colin Meads announcing himself to the rugby world on the tour.

Between 1955 and 2007 the New Zealand U21 team (sometimes referred to as New Zealand Colts) played 151 games and had 117 wins, and that includes two World Under-21 championship successes in 2003 and 2004. Typically, the side would play domestically against local opposition. 

In 2008, the current incarnation of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship began. New Zealand has fashioned a 49-12 record in the World Championship winning the title four times from 2008 to 2011 and again in 2015 and 2017. That is the best record of any country at the event. The Under 20s' are 65-14 in all internationals since 2008. They have beaten 15 countries. France won titles in 2018 and 2019 before the tournament was put on hold from 2020-2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2008: Inaugural Under 20 Champions

Previous incarnations of the World Junior Rugby championships had consisted of Under 17, 19, and 21 age groups. In 2008 the tournament reverted to its present format.

New Zealand conceded just one try in their five victories over Tonga (48-9), Ireland (65-10), Argentina (60-0), and Wales (31-6 in the semi-final) before the 38-3 final triumph over England at Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

The championship-winning side was guided by co-coaches Dave Rennie and Russell Hilton-Jones. Daniel Kirkpatrick was named player of the final. He later played Super Rugby for the Hurricanes and the Blues before a long stint in France. Ryan Crotty (who scored a try in the final), Zac Guildford, Sam Whitelock, and Aaron Smith all became All Blacks.

2011: The Greatest Ever?

The New Zealand roster in 2011 was stacked full of talent. Codie Taylor, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Beauden Barrett, Brad Weber, Charles Piutau, Lima Sopoaga, Francis Saili, TJ Perenara, and Waisake Naholo all became All Blacks.

Whitelock was the captain of the side that beat England 33-22 in the final.

England, by way of comparison, had George Ford, Owen Farrell, and Elliot Daly in their backline as well as Mako Vunipola, Christian Wade, Marland Yarde, Joe Launchbury, Sam Kvesic, and Sam Jones in their roster.

Ironically Brad Shields, a New Zealand squad member, later played for England. Ben Tameifuna (Tonga) and Gareth Anscombe (Wales) were also internationals.

New Zealand’s biggest win of the tournament was 92-0 against Wales and they beat Australia 37-7 in the semis.

The margin of victory eclipsed the 62-17 victory over Australia in the 2010 final. In that match, Tyler Bleyendaal scored 28 points, and Telusa Veainu three tries.

2017: English Destroyers

Watching hooker Asafo Aumua score three tries in a 64-17 demolition of England in the final was like jumping in a time machine and watching Jonah Lomu all over again. New Zealand ran rampant to win a tournament where there was a question mark initially about their forward resistance. In a 68-26 hiding of Italy for example, the side conceded multiple rolling maul tries. Aumua along with captain Luke Jacobson, Stephen Perofeta, Caleb Clarke, Braydon Ennor, and Will Jordan have become All Blacks. Others like Pouri Rakete-Stones, Isaia Walker-Leawere, and Tom Christie are regulars in Super Rugby.

New Zealand Colts All-Time Record

Played: 241

Won: 192

Lost: 47

Drawn: 2


NOTE: The record is Colts, U21, and U20 matches combined. It’s worth noting that the World Under-19 championships were contested between 1999 and 2007 with New Zealand winning the tournament in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2007. They won 34, drew 2, and lost 3 games.

New Zealand Under 20 schedule for the Under 20 World Championship:

New Zealand Under 20 v Wales Under 20: Sunday 25 June, 2am NZT, Paarl, South Africa

New Zealand Under 20 v France Under 20: Thursday 29 June, 11.30pm NZT, Paarl, South Africa

New Zealand Under 20 v Japan Under 20: Wednesday 5 July, 2.30am NZT, Paarl, South Africa

The World Rugby Under 20 Championships take place in South Africa from June 24 – July 14. Click HERE for more tournament information.

All New Zealand matches are live on Sky Sport.


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