IRB Junior World Championship
Wales end Baby Blacks' unbeaten run
June 9, 2012
Wales celebrate their historic victory over New Zealand © Image SA
Wales notched the biggest upset in the history of the International Rugby Board's Junior World Championship with a narrow 9-6 victory over New Zealand in the latest round of this year's tournament.
New Zealand had won all 21 of their previous matches and had humiliated Wales 92-0 in last year's tournament in Italy, but in difficult conditions at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, the boots of Matthew Morgan and Tom Prydie sealed the win.
"They have never lost in four years, that says what a great team they are and shows how well we played - we cannot take anything away from the boys, it was amazing," commented Wales' captain and hooker Kirby Myhill. In contrast, New Zealand coach Rob Penney revealed the pain felt by his side. "The boys are heartbroken at the moment," he said. "They must get up, we have another job to do in four or five days (against Fiji) so we look forward to that."
The result leaves Wales firmly in control of Pool A and within touching distance of a semi-final place ahead of their final outing against win-less Samoa on Tuesday. Fiji won their all-Pacific clash 15-3 on Friday afternoon.
Argentina also upset the odds in their latest clash with a 15-3 victory over much-fancied Australia that leaves Los Pumitas on top of Pool C. Tries from winger Felipe Nougues and flanker Pablo Matera and a resolute defensive display saw Argentina home after they lost lock Rodrigo Parada to a first half yellow card.
"In this tournament it's another victory for us. We want to win, we have a dream and don't think anything is going to stop us," insisted Argentina captain Sebastian Poet whose side now face Scotland in their last pool clash. The Scots narrowly failed to notch their first win of the competition, going down 30-29 to France following a late try from replacement prop Sebastien Taofifenua. New Zealand, France and Australia now have to pick up maximum points in their final pool matches and then keep fingers crossed it is enough to keep alive their title dreams.
The only other unbeaten team are England, albeit only after a strong second half performance by their forwards to turn a 15-3 half-time deficit into a narrow 20-5 victory over Ireland. Ireland, buoyed by their opening day upset win against South Africa, were keen to avenge their loss to England in the Six Nations title decider and dominated the first half with half backs JJ Hanrahan and Kiernan Marmion crossing the try-line.
England had two players sin-binned in the first half, playing with 13 men at one stage, but it was the yellow card for Ireland replacement Shane Buckley just past the hour which proved decisive in determining the winner. Within seconds of his departure, England were awarded a penalty try and a second try quickly followed through prop Kyle Sinckler, the 2011 runners-up scoring 14 points while they had the advantage.
"It was a fantastic effort from all the boys," said England captain Ryan Mills, "especially the boys up front who showed that we can win in a different kind of way, instead of chucking the ball around the way we normally do. It's great to know that we got that in the locker as well."
In the other Pool B game, South Africa bounced back well from their opening loss to Ireland to hammer Italy 52-3. England head the group with nine points, followed by South Africa on six and Ireland a point behind with Italy on zero. The Irish will expect to pick up a bonus point win against Italy on Tuesday, but then face a nervous wait to see if it is enough to secure a first ever semi final depending on the South Africa-England tussle.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
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