They’ve been beaten 25-17 by South Africa and will now play Wales in the fifth place playoff.
The Junior Boks were impressive and will be proud to have taken the victory, despite three yellow cards.
New Zealand struggled with South Africa’s solid defence and their quick line speed, making several errors and conceding a number of penalties.
South Africa were dominant in the opening half, with New Zealand looking rattled in the early stages. It took just seven minutes for South African fullback Vaughan Isaacs to score. He received a great offload from second five-eighth Rikus Pretorius and was able to fall over the line.
South Africa halfback Jaden Hendrikse kicked a penalty, just before lock JJ van der Mescht scored their second. It was a brilliant try, after stealing the ball from the line out, he sprinted 50 metres to bag the five points.
Hendrikse kicked two more penalties before half time to give his side a handy 19-3 lead at the break.
HAKA: In a crunch match at the #WorldRugbyU20s, the @AllBlacks U20s perform a spine tingling Haka pic.twitter.com/Qt9aObSbcr— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 12, 2019It took 74 minutes for New Zealand to score their first try. Lalomilo Lalomilo took a no look pass from Billy Proctor to score on the right flank and Fergus Burke kicked the important extra two points. That put New Zealand within seven points and in a bonus-point position, which would have guaranteed them a semifinals berth.
But discipline let New Zealand down again and they conceded a penalty right in front of the posts with just two minutes remaining. Sanele Nohamba slotted the three points and South Africa managed to hold New Zealand out to take the victory and knock Craig Philpott’s side out of the finals.
New Zealand Under 20 captain Kianu Kereru Symes was gutted with the result post-match.
“South Africa brought the pressure as we knew they would. We just didn’t adapt to it properly until the last few minutes of the first half and that was too late. Well-deserved to South Africa.
“Our main message was to stick to the process and take our time in the second half because we were rushing in the first spell. We couldn’t quite execute today.”
New Zealand will now play Wales in the fifth place playoff on Monday morning, while the semifinals will see hosts Argentina take on Australia and France play South Africa.
Scorers: New Zealand 17 (Penalty try, Lalomilo Lalomilo tries; Fergus Burke con; Fergus Burke pen) South Africa 25 (Vaughan Isaacs, JJ van der Mescht; Jaden Hendrikse 3, Sanele Nohamba 2 pens). HT: 3-19
FT | @JuniorBoks have beaten #NZU20s in their final pool match at the #WorldRugbyU20s in Argentina. Well played South Africa. pic.twitter.com/NZHr7rnyWZ— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 12, 2019