IRB Junior World Championships
England and New Zealand book final date
June 22, 2011
England's Christian Wade touches down for a try during their victory over France at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso © Getty Images
New Zealand will play England in the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship Final after both sides came through their semi-final clashes in Treviso.
England booked their third final appearance in the last four years with a 33-18 victory over France while the three-time defending champions New Zealand saw off Australia 37-7 - their 19th straight victory in the competition dating back to their first game in the inaugural tournament three years ago.
Sunday's final in Padova will be the third meeting of the two sides in the tournament showpiece with the Baby Blacks having won both of the previous clashes with a 38-3 victory in 2008 and a 44-28 win in 2009.
Tries from winger Christian Wade, fly-half George Ford, fullback Ben Ransom and captain Alex Gray proved just enough for England to see off a determined French side in the day's opening semi-final.
Wade pounced for the game's first try after just two minutes after a clever chip through from centre Owen Farrell but France soon hit back with loose-head Sebastien Taofifenua burrowing over for a try a few minutes later. The boot of influential centre Jean Pascal Barraque edge France ahead but the classy Ford reduced the arrears with a penalty before ghosting over for a try that gave England a narrow 13-10 lead at the end of a bruising opening period.
Barraque levelled things up from the kicking tee in the early stages of the second half and they were rewarded further for their superior efforts with a try from winger Marvin O'Connor. England's defence was again the key as they weathered the storm before hitting back through Ransom with Ford adding the extras.
Pressure from the England pack continued to cause the French problems and Ford happily stretched his side's lead with two further penalties. And with the game all but won, Gray pounced for an intercept score that was converted by Ford with the last act of the game.
Australia were looking to avenge their 62-17 mauling at the hands of New Zealand in last year's tournament final and made a strong start with winger Chris Kuridrani crossing for the game's opening score. Fly-half Ben Volavola cemented his side's deserved lead with the conversion but they could not shackle their cross-Tasman rivals for long.
Winger Francis Saili crossed midway through the half after some excellent handling had created the opening and fly-half Gareth Anscombe levelled the scores with the extras. Australia continued to stand toe-to-toe with their unbeaten rivals but could not prevent Anscombe edging his side further ahead with two well-struck penalties before the break.
Australia's industry began to take its toll in the second half and New Zealand winger Charles Piutau crossed for his fifth try of the tournament shortly after the re-start with Anscombe again on-target with the conversion. The Baby Blacks' in-form playmaker edged his side nearer another final with his third penalty and would pounce for the decisive score just a minute later.
A loose pass from Volavola went down in midfield and Anscombe hacked the ball on before touching down for a try that he also converted. The two sides continued to hammer away at each other and while the Kiwis failed to cut loose their resolute defence offered little to Australia.
Replacement scrum-half Brad Weber wrapped up the win by darting over with three minutes to go with Anscombe setting the seal on the win. His side's 34th try of the tournament took them past their previous record of 33 at each of the previous Junior World Championships with one match - the final - remaining.
In the 5th place semi-finals, Fiji upset Wales 34-20 and will play South Africa who crushed Ireland 57-15. And in the 9th place semi-finals, Scotland beat Tonga 30-11 and Argentina edged hosts Italy 12-8.
IRB Junior World Championship schedule: (Sunday, June 26)
11th Place Play-Off
9th Place Play-Off
7th Place Play-Off
5th Place Play-Off
3rd Place Play-Off
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